Lent 1 :: This is only a test....

PGR.08272009.145

A sweet test?

This is a test. This is only a test…

Of course, had this been a real test—or emergency—you would have been told where to tune-in for more information. Or so goes the Public Service Announcement long ago abandoned by most TV stations.

But take life. We are often told that it is a test—that the things which happen to us on a daily basis test what kind of person we are or how well we handle difficult situations or whether or not we can be trusted with even greater responsibilities which, of course, only leads to greater and more difficult tests. Funny thing is they’re right. Life is a test. But not the kind of test we may suppose.

St. Mark tells us that Jesus, immediately after being baptized and pronounced by God’s Voice as “Beloved Son,” was driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Though the gospeller does not bother with such details as the kinds of temptations endured by Jesus, we can be sure they were real doozies. Like the kind we face each and every day: How can I be a better parent? Should I buy that great set of golf clubs or put my money away for retirement? I’m out of work, do I pay my bills this week or take my sick child to a doctor? I haven’t studied for the big exam today, but I did find a crib sheet…should I use it? Though quite different one from the other, each of these “tests” ultimately are about trust and faith. And, to put it very bluntly, they are all a matter of either trusting in God or trusting in something—anything—else. And, though trusting in anything else may provide immediate relief or instant gratification, such consequences are fleeting.

What the temptation of Jesus aims to show us, is that there really is only One in Whom we can place our full faith and trust: the God who is Creator, Lover, Spirit-Giver.

And this is a good thing to ponder as we begin our Lenten journey: God or other? How will you weather that test?


Link to RCL Lectionary for the 1st Sunday in Lent

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