From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
Lenten blessings to you all. May your hearts be at ease. We are praying that good health and peace are returning to your communities and that all is well in your homes.
Scripture: Luke 4:1-4
"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. ' And Jesus answered him,“It is written, ‘[we] shall not live by bread alone.'"
Some years ago I often visited a woman who had lost her sight. She frequently expressed gratitude for a Sunday school teacher she had when she was young. That teacher insisted that the children memorize scripture, and it was a habit that she kept up even as an adult. Being able to recite some of her favorite passages brought her much comfort when she could no longer read the Bible. I am not good at extensive memorization, but I do like knowing some very short pieces of scripture that I can use as prayer. "Be still and know that I am God," helps me when I am restless or worried. "Be not afraid," is another that I often use.
This scripture from Luke is the beginning of the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert. When the tempter showed up, Jesus did what my friend did. He quoted scripture that he had memorized, and that gave him strength to not fall for temptation's trickery. Here, Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: "He humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding you the manna that neither you nor your ancestors had ever experienced, so he could teach you that people do not live on bread alone."
People often think of Lent as a time of giving something up. Yet, I think it goes deeper than that. It is a time to reconnect and deepen our relationship with Christ. Please remember that your faith journey is unique. May your time with scripture and prayer bring you closer to God this Lent and always. It is true: we do not live by bread alone. That would be opting for a very poor diet when we are continually offered so much goodness.
I leave you with the first verse and refrain of the beautiful hymn, "Be Not Afraid" written by Bob Dufford. May we all heed these beautiful words of encouragement.