Respecting the Stone

February 22nd, 2010 Posted in writing

In the story of Jesus in the desert, the tempter challenges Jesus to turn a stone into bread, but Jesus refuses, answering in the words of Scripture, “Man does not live on bread alone.” It all seems pretty straightforward.

I think there is more in the incident than that, however. I think one might discern that in his response, Jesus (who, the story tells us was hungry but not starving) was also saying, “Why should I, simply for my own convenience, destroy this perfectly good stone? Let it stay what it is.”

Is it too much to find in this attitude on Jesus’ part a kind of “respect” for the world of things? If so, then the story can remind us that things have value in themselves, not just in their usefulness to us. That’s something to keep in mind as we begin Lent, and as we continue to cut and burn and pave our way across the world.

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