Tuesday, January 29, 2008


My hands are tied in knots and the threads are all over the floor.

And I see I omitted section 11. Birth, division between joy and lament, passage of time, the requirements of the Law, but real boys like me, children in a place, John a Nazirite; Jesus a Nazarene, and so we were named for a while.

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness

- this way

- alone is good

I was going to leave this section till later in the story - I don't remember why. I am getting old. Note about each table: after Mark, whom we knew best and studied first, we always put Luke, and then Matthew, and John last.

What is temptation? Does it ever cease? Is it only for a moment? Or does our temptation reveal who we really are?

How shall we know, Beloved, which spirit to be driven by? To what will we subject ourselves? According to Matthew and Luke, Jesus was subject to three temptations, like those that were from the beginning: a need for food, the attractiveness of power, a certainty of safety. Why does Mark leave these out? It is a consequence of his leaving out the introductions of Matthew and Luke. We do not yet know who Jesus is. It is sufficient to know for the moment that the Spirit drove him. There is action in God that is exercised in tension of relationship. How will it be resolved? Have you ever been driven by love?

- Draw me after thee

- I will

So it was that Jesus is drawn into the desert. Luke and Matthew use a term that is not so easily associated with violence, but even the word Mark uses can be meant without violence. In this desert experience, Jesus is to normal eyes alone, but Mark notes the three that accompany him: the accuser, the wild beasts, and the angels.

- what will open eyes?
- a spectacle is no use to the blind

- what will unstop ears?
- thunder will not awaken the deaf

- what will release the fearful and restrain the arrogant?

- consider the pet Leviathan.

What does the accuser want with love? Denial of desire seeking what is not and refusing the only reality. This is the potential for failure even in reality itself. But the Beloved does not fail. The wild beasts know love without knowing about it and they are moved to worship. The Seraphim sing the threefold Sanctus in Love's presence.

Mark could have written as Luke and Matthew did. It was sufficient for him to suggest through the beasts that Jesus is like the first child of the dust. He did not need detail of the second Adam's spirit.

John wrote nothing explicit about temptation.

- alone? not good

- it is not yourself that you feed but all those who are needy
- the child of dust does not live by bread alone

- show yourself and relieve the uncertainty and doubt

- the child of wisdom will delight in ambiguity

- worship me and I will deliver you to glory

- the child of glory does not need extortion

1 comment:

Beyond Words said...

Thanks for this. Lots to meditate upon for the rest of the day.