Holy Manna: February 26, 2023

Holy Manna: A Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Read: Matthew 4:1-11

“Then, Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1 (NAB)

I see a stop sign posted at the end of the first verse of this passage. Stop. Why would the Spirit lead Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil? Does the Spirit lead us into places of temptation?

I am struck by how Jesus was led away from community, into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. It makes me think there are times when it is advantageous to let the Spirit lead us into isolated places where we have the time and quiet to confront the temptations which have power in our lives. Perhaps, temptations at their core are personal and can only be heard in the quietness of an isolated place and can only be discerned individually.

How can the community care for each other when members are led into these isolated places for internal reflection and wrestling? The community of faith can recognize and support this work as a way of following Jesus and we can pray for each other, that we will be able to recognize the problematic promises so often rooted in temptations and be able to dismantle them as Jesus so acutely modeled for us.

Lord of all good leading, lead us not only into the light but also into the darkness that we might gain a more discriminating hearing of our inner voices. Amen.
-Sharon Weldon