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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Today’s Reading | Luke 4:1–13

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,’


     ‘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. (NRSV)


What if this was a play in a contemporary theater?

Lights up. A small spot where JAY sits. Another person, DECIDEDLY NOT JAY, enters.

DECIDEDLY NOT JAY: Hey, how’s it going? (JAY does not reply.) Forty days fasting. Wow. Got to hand it to you. Quite an accomplishment. (JAY does not reply.) Hey, check it out. See that rock? I bet you could just turn that into a loaf of bread. Go on. Forty days, man. That’s a long time. You deserve it. Nice fresh bread, all warm and smelling good. Sourdough . . .

JAY: Listen, Skippy. Fasting’s voluntary. If bread were all that mattered, I would have eaten, like, thirty-eight days ago. Sometimes other things are more important. Like listening to the Man. Like I’m trying to do here.

DNJ: All right, that’s cool. The whole low-carb, gluten-free thing, I get it. But check this out: (Lights up further. Vegas. Glitz and glamor and casual indulgence.) Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. The Man, he put me in charge, and I can use a strong-minded guy like you. Throw in with me and I will set you up.

J: Like I would work for you? You’re just a tenant. You’re not the landlord. When your lease runs out, you’re done. Me, I’m working for the landlord, the Man. Him, and only him. Got it?

DNJ: Oh, you’re in with the Man, now. He’s looking out for you. I bet if you went up on the tower and jumped off, the Man would just set you down light as a feather. Go on, show me how tight you are with the Man. Bungee!

J: The thing you never got clear on is that you don’t test the Man; the Man tests you. It’s about the Man and it’s always been about the Man. What the Man wants, not what I want. The second I let you make it about me, I’m no better than you.

DNJ: All right, you be that way. I will catch you later.

He goes.

J: Maybe. But you won’t keep me.


Lord, help me to remember my role: that it’s important to listen to your words and that it’s not about me; it’s about you. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Fine Arts Coordinator

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