Forgive Me if I Laugh

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'” – Luke 4:9-11

Forgive me if I laugh, deceiver. You
may see a hint of smirk, I fear,
upon my face. You ask me to jump down
from this great height and let
the angels catch me in the fall.
What irony! Descending brings
no trembling to me. Falling here
is easier than rising, rising first
upon a tortured torturer’s stake,
rising second from a grave designed
to hold me down. The angels then
will watch and weep to see
humanity’s malignity.
Then, truly, they will catch my soul.
Will catch it, heal it, lift it, raise it to
heights greater far than these.
Forgive me if I laugh, deceiver. You
are nothing but a noisy gong,
a clanging cymbal, knowing naught
of human life, its rise and fall.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 4:1-13, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year C, First Sunday in Lent. 

The image is The Third Temptation by William Blake (ca. 1803-1805) – The William Blake Archive, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33146639.

2 thoughts on “Forgive Me if I Laugh

  1. These may indeed be the interior thoughts of Jesus. After all, the reporting on this story had to come from him. Satan wasn’t commenting. What we find in the text may have been edited down from these words.

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