The First Temptation: Israel, Jesus and Sabbath Economics

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Date: 
Sunday, 1 March 2009

A talk given at Lenten Retreat, Knox Presbyterian, Pasadena, CA, March, 2009. 7 pp.

THE CHURCH TRADITIONALLY inaugurates Lent by reflecting on the “wilderness temptations” of Jesus. This story is articulated in Mt 4:1-11 and Lk 4:1-13 (probably Q tradition). In preparation for his mission, Jesus follows a mysterious yet compelling calling to desert solitude. He fasts, lives in the wild, and wrestles with spirits. (Right: Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy, “Christ in the Wilderness,” 1873.)

While Jesus' wilderness sojourn may seem strange to our modern ears, it would be quite intelligible to indigenous peoples the world over. Lost to contemporary urban cultures, the “vision quest” tradition survives still among most land-based tribal peoples. Among Aboriginal people it is referred to as the "renewal of the Dreaming"; for the California Yuki it is dancing and the sweat lodge; the Pueblo people of New Mexico follow the ancient traditions of the kiva; and the Sioux call it hanblechia.

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by Ched Myers

All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.