When the Devil Quotes Scripture

The Most High will command the angels to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
– Psalm 91:11-12

What do you do when the devil quotes Scripture to you?

That’s what happened to Jesus (according to Matthew 4 and Luke 4) during the time of temptation.

That’s also what happens to us and to others when we throw Scripture in one another’s faces … or have Scripture thrown in our faces … or even throw Scripture in our own faces with a berating tone.

We might be testers and tempters, daring others to prove their faith through the litmus test of Scripture. We might be haters, plying Scripture to cause harm and to wield our own judgments in the name of God. We might be do-gooders, spouting Scripture as an easy-peasy Band-Aid to those who are suffering and struggling.

“Here, this verse will fix everything. This verse will prove I am right. This verse will verify the rightness of your faith. This verse will convict you of your sins and single-handedly convince you to change your ways.”

Before you tell Jesus to jump off the temple; before you tell your neighbors that Jesus is the only way, truth, and life; before you tell your sibling that God has a purpose for their suffering; maybe double-check whether your faith is unnecessarily saddled with the baggage of Scripture-as-litmus-test. Reconsider whether you need to burden those around you with that same baggage.

Even the devil quoted Scripture. The words are only as good as the love and the life-affirming action with which they come.

May the words of our tongues, no matter how biblical, no matter how well-intentioned, not become stones that weigh down and drown our siblings.

written for the Daily Devotional

Rage

my heart is a burning wildfire of pain and conflict
a loud blare of frustration and alarm
a raging army of trumpets
marching against
their own breath, protesting
the vain efforts of their own harmony
building, calling, mocking, pounding, replaying
the horror of reckless heat and smoke
until at last they fizzle and fade
to a quiet ash heap
which is where you find my heart,
tracing your finger through its fragile powder
with a blessing, a scattering, a releasing to restorative peace

Mountaintops

We climb the mountain to wait.

Surrounded by a cloud, we wait.

While the nations conspire, we wait.

When brightness overwhelms us, we wait.

Through the long night, we wait.

Until the Spirit speaks, we wait.

As we wait, we are already:
your witnesses,
your inheritance,
your collaborators,
your beloved vessels,
your anointed,
your freedom.

on today’s Revised Common Lectionary
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Choosing Life & Death

Holy and Gracious God:

Today we choose life —
the bloom of hope,
the breath of humility,
the proximity of tenderness.

Holy and Mysterious God:

Today we choose death —
the sunset of greed,
the erosion of pride,
the burial of violence.

Holy and Creative God:

Today we choose prosperity —
the harvest of peace,
the healing of all nature,
the sustainability of love.

Holy and Disruptive God:

Today we choose adversity —
the troubling of wealth,
the disordering of power,
the resistance of injustice.

We choose life,
O Eternal God,
and we choose death.

on Deuteronomy 30:15
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Saltiness

My flavor is lost and
my spirit is faint within me,
but o my God, surely this salt of humanity
can still be scattered on the ground
to melt the ice we fear.

My light is dim and
my flesh is so very weary,
but o my God, surely this lowly lamp
can still hold one shadow at bay
until rest comes.

My root is withered and
my dream has fallen on rocks,
but o my God, surely this bare seed
can still nourish a sparrow
so its song continues.

Sometimes the palate dulls,
the basket hides, the rocks hinder,
but o my God, let there be eternal grace
and unexpected goodness.
And forever mercy.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals