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Full to the Brim: Even in the Desert

Luke 4:1-13, NRSV


Is everything holy? I learn that when the upper limb of a cottonwood tree is cut crosswise, the grain reveals a perfect five-pointed star. The star is understood as a sign of the Great Spirit’s presence and the tree’s holy nature. Even the breeze blowing through the cottonwood leaves is understood to be its prayer… Who would ever notice, in my busy life, that a star is secreted in a cottonwood tree? It makes me wonder, are there equally hidden depths inside of me?

God comes to you disguised as your life.

— Paula D’Arcy, from Gift of the Red Bird

  • In the desert, Jesus was targeted with his hunger
    • Can God be trusted with our hunger?
    • We might be tempted to take matters into our own hands
  • Jesus was targeted with his ego
    • “prosperity” gospel tells us we can’t be unsuccessful in all things
  • Jesus was targeted with his vulnerability
    • There are only two major paths by which the human soul comes to God: the path of great love, and the one of great suffering. Both finally come down to great suffering—because if we love anything greatly, we will eventually suffer for it. When we’re young, God hides this from us. We think it won’t have to be true for us. But to love anything in depth and over the long term, we eventually must suffer. — Richard Rohr
  • What does this mean for us as we begin our Lenten journeys this year? Maybe it means it’s time to follow Jesus into the desert. It’s time to stay and look evil in the face. Time to hear evil’s voice, recognize its allure, and confess its appeal. It’s time to decide who we are and whose we are. Remember, Lent is not a time to do penance for being human. It’s a time to embrace all that it means to be human. Human and hungry. Human and vulnerable. Human and beloved. — Debie Thomas


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