The Devil You Know

He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild
beasts; and the angels waited on him. (Mark 1:13, NRSV)

How's that for economical writing?

When I think of the more elaborated versions of this story, I think cinematically, with swooping crane shots, up to the mountains and down to the Temple.

And always, always, the same actor plays both Satan and Jesus.

Who is your favorite Jesus? Cast him as Satan.

Who is your deepest temptation? Cast her as the world's Savior.

I'm convinced we're more likely to get in our own way than to be tempted by others.

So, what's your Devil? Can you fast from it during Lent? Or strive to be aware of it rather than unconsciously living the way you usually do? Whether it's a habit of mind or body or spirit, here's a chance to loosen the chains that bind us.

Because it looks to me like either of those people could take them off and go.

(Image from the Rider Waite Tarot deck.)

9 thoughts on “The Devil You Know”

  1. Someday I’d like to hear (or preach) a sermon about the fact that he was “with the wild beasts.” What a strange thing to include, considering how tight that verse is.


  2. That was reverendmother… I don’t know why that comment identified me as TYCWP… all of the fields are filled in with RM stuff…!


  3. Ah, what is my personal devil? There are more than one, I think. I’ve been trying to figure out what to give up for Lent, but haven’t fully decided.


  4. Hmm, I thought I commented but I must have hit preview. I think I said that I probably have several devils. I’m still deciding what to give up for Lent.


  5. Reminds me of one of the most deftly-done exercises in inclusive-language preaching I ever heard. A newly-appointed “uppity woman” pastor was preaching to a reticent rural congregation. She began a Lenten sermon thusly: “I was tempted by the devil this week…and SHE said…”
    The congregation was so surprised to hear a female pronoun used not just for God, but also for the devil, that they busted out laughing. It eased tensions that had been building for weeks and allowed folks to actually LISTEN to the rest of her sermon instead of wasting their energies on reptilian resistance.
    I’m not saying that the resistance ended then and there, but it certainly was mitigated!


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