February 18 – 23: Lent 1 – Temptation
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
You Are Not Alone written by Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco), sung by Mavis Staples
You’re not alone, I’m with you. I’m lonely too.
What’s that song, can’t be sung by two.
A broken home, a broken heart, isolated and afraid.
Open up this is a raid, I wanna get it through to you, You’re not alone.
You’re not alone, every night, I stand in your place.
Every tear, on every face, tastes the same.
A broken dream, a broken heart, isolated and afraid.
Open up this is a raid, I’m gonna get it through to you, you’re not alone.
An open hand, an open heart, there’s no need to be afraid.
Open up this is a raid, I wanna get it through to you, you’re not alone.
I wanna get it through to you, you’re not alone.
A raid? Pretty strong language. And yet, that is what it often takes for some of us to get the picture or hear the message that we are not, after all, alone. Here is someone who raids our heart and reminds us that we find ourselves in the wilderness, in the face of temptation, in despair or fear or whatever is hard – that we are not out there on our own.
Listen to this song, poured out by Mavis Staples. Can you hear the emotion in her voice – the power, the comfort, the challenge, the plea?
Listen to this song. Who is it – for you – that has stood or could stand in your place? God, Spirit, Jesus, Wisdom, something else? Stands with you, stands for you, holds you when you can’t stand? Imagine what it would be like for someone to stand in your place. Or at your side.
Listen to this song again. Close your eyes and allow yourself to be held by it and by the One who holds you.