Friday, February 11, 2005

Temptation of Christ

This week's gospel in the lectionary is Matthew 4:1-11

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him." (RSV)

I have written a little drama/monologue for Jesus -- here. It's based on "The Message" by Eugene Peterson. I noticed something interesting. Each of the exchanges with Jesus and Satan has an allusion to the word "stone." It's overt in the first two, but the third one is interesting. First, the mountians in that part of the world are stony -- rocky. And the word for mountain here is oros {or'-os} which means mountain but is related to the word airo {ah'-ee-ro} which means 1) to raise up, elevate, lift up a) to raise from the ground, take up stones.

Let me know what you think. I don't have problems with monologues in general -- I just have problems with it being Jesus. Who do you have to do the monologue? If it's not the "right" person, can this be an obstacle for the congregation?

3 comments:

Songbird said...

I think it's beautiful. Why not do it yourself? Having a woman give voice to Jesus takes away all the weirdness of comparing a guy to him, I think.

Liddy said...

Great work with the monologue!

I wonder if it might be effective to have more than one Jesus presenting this -- perhaps a group of four people (men, women, young, old), one presenting the introduction and then one for each of the temptations? That might help avoid the tendency to identify Jesus' voice as only a young man's voice, while also making it clear that no single person is presuming to be Jesus.

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