Kingdoms of Power, Kingdom of Love

Matt. 4:8-9 “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’”

As Kathy pointed out Sunday, we interact with lots of “kingdoms” every day – communities and systems with rules and ways of operating, whether they’re clearly laid out or we just pick them up as we go.  Our governments, our families, our work places, our friends…  And once again, our Scripture reading highlights an uncomfortable truth – Satan claims some authority over these kingdoms. 

Don’t we see that every day in the ways, large and small, that we struggle against each other to get what we want, what we think we need?   Henri Nouwen sums up the rules guiding the empire of evil in one word: power.  “... power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.”

Take a few minutes to pray and talk with Jesus again about the desert experiences you sense God has brought you to, the places of loneliness and worry, perhaps pain.  Where do you feel those temptations Nouwen describes to ease your discomfort using the tools of empire– to play God, to try to control people or your life circumstances, to exert violence in ways large or small?  If instead you could hold your anxiety in God’s loving presence and act from that inner security, what strong and loving choices might you make?  Ask God for the wisdom to recognize these moments of decision today and live out of love rather than fear.