Lent daybook, 5: Temptation

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you? (see previous Lent daybook 2017 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

Blessed first Sunday of Lent!

I offer you three poems in response to the lectionary readings for today.  First of all, a sonnet from the inestimable poet and priest Malcolm Guite illustrating a temptation that is defeated by the Son of God and Son of Man who makes a way for us all to receive help in times of trouble.

Secondly, I offer you a poetic reflection I wrote several years ago.  This in response to the heartbreaking account of a temptation that leads to the defeat of humankind through the weakness and pride of Adam and Eve. 

Last, a stanza from George Herbert that beautifully reminds us of the ultimate victory the sinless, crucified Christ wins in obedience to God and for the redemption of all of us.  

May our lives respond in humble gratitude today, friends.  



Christ in the Desert by Ivan Kramskoy  (source )

Christ in the Desert by Ivan Kramskoy (source)

The Fountain thirsts, the Bread is hungry here
The Light is dark, the Word without a voice.
When darkness speaks it seems so light and clear.
Now He must dare, with us, to make a choice.
In a distended belly’s cruel curve
He feels the famine of the ones who lose
He starves for those whom we have forced to starve
He chooses now for those who cannot choose.
He is the staff and sustenance of life
He lives for all from one Sustaining Word
His love still breaks and pierces like a knife
The stony ground of hearts that never shared,
God gives through Him what Satan never could;
The broken bread that is our only food.
— "Stones Into Bread" by Malcolm Guite (Word In the Wilderness)
Haywain  by Hieronymus Bosch (source)

Haywain by Hieronymus Bosch (source)

Shalom broken,
rent in two.
Guarded now by flaming swords,
we stand on the outside looking in.

Starved for shalom,
eating stones for bread.
We cower in thistle and branch,
bursting the seams of our animal skins.

Eyes that once saw God
in the cool of the day
now watch cold metal ignite
with the glint of distant Sun.
Right and left,
back and forth,
side to side.

Shalom barricaded,
obstructed from view.
Hypnotized by swinging metal,
we dream awake of old peace.

Capturing shalom,
in memories,
ancient instincts.
Could we crash the cherubim,
lay siege on contentment?

Rotten fruit falls,
teeters into sight.
Capturing for a moment,
our attention from the angels.

Slurping up shalom,
a dripping,
stew bloats our bellies.
Pretending we are full,
we nap at the eastern gate of Paradise.
— A reflection on Genesis 3:24 by Tamara Hill Murphy
Tree of Life  by Melissa Weinman ( source)

Tree of Life by Melissa Weinman (source)

‘O all ye who pass by, behold and see!’
Man stole the fruit; but I must climb the tree;
The tree of life to all, but only me:
Was ever grief like mine?
— "The Sacrifice" by George Herbert

Prayer for today: 

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer

(see all Lent daybook posts from 2016 here)