This request always struck me as odd. We are told not to “tempt the Lord thy God,” but here we are, it would seem, asking God not to tempt us. First let’s take a look at the Greek. The word temptation is πειρασμός.
Strongs gives us a definition: a) trial, probation, testing, being tried, (b) temptation, (c) calamity, affliction.
Another word used is “experiment.”
Passing over the interesting connotations that might bring (cf. Job,) I’d like to focus on the trial, and calamity aspect.
It would seem that we are requesting deliverance from trying times. I think in terms of those moments when we are pushed to the brink. Rather like Jesus in the desert after 40 days, or perhaps hanging on the cross screaming to the heavens.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Mat. 27:46 KJV
When I was younger, I often misunderstood the scripture as requiring us to ask of God not to tempt us to sin. Asking God not to give us opportunity to “miss the mark.” Now I am wondering if Matthew had more in mind when he wrote πειρασμός. I think perhaps he is also referring to the many times we as human beings are on the edge of life and death call them both spiritually, intellectually, and or physically.
I am also led to this interpretation via the completion of this verse:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
In part two I would like to delve into this image of deliverance from evil.
One final thought: it seems with this last couplet in the Lords prayer, we are reminded that the Father is well aware that life is often trying. So he urges us to remember that his son knows this deeply. So have no fear but simply ask to be spared from temptation, from trials, from the times of tribulation. We are asking for God to prevent us, or go before us. And that’s when we are reminded: The God-man Jesus did.
We interrupt our regular Field Guide format for this Scripture reading challenge!
Would you like to up your Scripture reading this Great Lent? Perhaps you haven’t spent much time in Scripture recently, and would like to get in and wrestle with the great foundations of the Orthodox faith.
Join us on this Lenten reading challenge! Seven chapters a day, six days a week, beginning on Clean Monday, with a day each week to rest or catch up, will put you finished with the entire New Testament early in Holy Week.
If you want to back off a little and go six chapters a day, that’s fine, it’s just that on Holy Saturday or on Pascha you’ll have a load of reading to do to finish up, and that’s a pretty busy weekend for a us!
It’s as simple as reading seven chapters today, and then seven tomorrow, and continuing on until you finish. For those who like charts and lists, I’ve broken it down for you in more detail.
CLEAN WEEK: Matthew 1 – Mark 14
M – Mt. 1-7
T – Mt. 8-14
W – Mt. 15-21
TH – Mt. 22-28
F – Mk. 1-7
SA – Mk. 8-14
FEAST OF THE TRIUMPH: Mark 15 – John 16
M – Mk. 15-Lk. 5
T – Lk. 6-12
W – Lk. 13-19
TH – Lk. 20-Jn. 2
F – Jn. 3-9
SA – Jn. 10-16
ST. GREGORY PALAMAS: John 17 – Romans 9
M – Jn. 17-Acts 2
T – Acts 3-9
W – Acts 10-16
TH –Acts 17-23
F – Acts 24-Rom. 2
SA – Rom. 3-9
VENERATION OF THE CROSS: Romans 10 – Galatians 6
M – Rom. 10-16
T – Rom. 17-1 Cor. 7
W – 1 Cor. 8-14
TH – 1 Cor. 15-2 Cor. 5
F – 2 Cor. 6-2 Cor. 12
SA – 2 Cor. 13-Gal. 6
ST. JOHN OF THE LADDER: Ephesians 1 – Hebrews 6
M – Eph. 1-Phl. 1
T – Phl. 2-Col. 4
W – 1 Thes. 1-2 Thes. 2
TH – 2 Thes. 3-1 Tim. 6
F – 2 Tim. 1-Tit. 3
SA – Phm.-Heb. 6
ST. MARY OF EGYPT: Hebrews 7 – Revelation 14
M – Heb. 7-13
T – Jas. 1-1 Pet. 2
W – 1 Pet. 3-1 Jn. 1
TH – 1 Jn. 2-Jude
F – Rev. 1-7
SA – Rev. 8-14
PALM SUNDAY AND HOLY WEEK: Revelation 14 – 22
M – Rev. 15-22 (1 extra chapter)
T – Go to church!
W – Go to church!
TH – Go to church!
F – Go to church!
SA – Go to church! PASCHA!
It’ that time of year, when the world turns its mind toward trees and candelabra; driedels and tinsel; manger scenes and Maccabees. The Holidays and all the trappings from toys and latkes to church and family. It’s a busy time and the prevailing cultural mood is that if everything in your life isn’t going exactly how you’d like, then you are doomed to wander through the whole year having “lost the holiday spirit”. Woe betide those who walk past the Salvation Army Santa with his bell or fail to greet their neighbor with appropriately festive greetings. All of this in the name of “keeping the spirit” or “keeping Christ in Christmas” or…whatever.
Recently, though, we have been on the receiving end of a darker holiday message. In recent weeks, our own Jamey Bennet has had to break the law in order to follow the Gospel calling to feed the homeless in Fort Lauderdale. A good friend of LOTW had his house robbed and ransacked and what little they did have, was taken from them in the course of an afternoon. Even our own government has been exposed for its cruel and inhuman acts towards our fellow-man. Here at the rolling of the year, we are drawn to the question: Am I my brother’s keeper?
It was in this dark world that I was reading A Christmas Carol to my daughters. This has become a tradition in our house: First The Best Christmas Pageant Ever , thenA Christmas Carol. We have just reached Marley’s Ghost and his admonishment of Scrooge in light of his own sufferings.
“At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said, “I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me?”
Having lost the ability to interfere for good in human misery, Marley must watch it–blown about on the winds–and weep for his unfeeling past. Keeping his eyes to the ground and only on the nearest crisis of income and expenses, he lost the time granted him to reach out a tender hand with love and goodwill towards those he saw in need.
What are we to do? How are we to see the world in such desperate need, to feel ourselves at a loss for time and resources, and make a real change? What great work can we accomplish in the name of Jesus Christ for the life of the world and the saving of the race?
I was moved by the story from our friend: in the midst of his suffering he kept saying, “I am thankful”. Thankful for his family, his safety, his house, his friends, his work, everything that remained to him. It is so easy at these times to turn inwards, focus on our own needs, and to wait for someone else to work to change the life of someone else. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Where Marley kept his eyes to the ground and ignored human misery, this dear friend looked up and was guided by the star to the nearest manger and able to change the life of someone else he saw in need.
Dickens, through Marley, presents a very simple anthropology: “It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!” We are called to see each person, every hurting soul, every joyful laughter and tune our hearts to join that dance. Failure to do that is failure to be a Human. In every person, we are called to see the imago dei and turn in reverence to that image and raise it up in the name of Christ–no matter who or what they may be or how they may offend us. True iconodulism is not limited to the reverence of sacred images on wood and stone, but most truly directed at the living icons who wander in and out of our lives.
Caleb (Edward) Shoemaker is a teacher of Latin and Bible in Upstate New York. He has a degree in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Institute in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He is kept busy raising four beautiful children with his wife Amelia. Check out their Etsy shop Embroidered Ameilia specializing in Pascha blanket patterns for the American Orthodox.
So it’s a festive time of year a time for loved ones and building great memories. But as Orthodox Christians it’s also a time for fasting and increased alms giving. Every year my friend’s parish hosts the emergency overflow shelter for the homeless of his city along with two other churches for 2 two week periods; during the month of December and again in February. It’s a big undertaking and they never have enough supplies. They ALWAYS NEED, BLANKETS, SOCKS, UNDERWEAR, JACKETS, SWEATSHIRTS, PANTS etc. FOR MEN AND WOMEN. People can donate these items via mail or send a gift card for purchasing said items. They take this project on with very little aid from the city mission. If any one would like to help them please email Stephen Maynard at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (814) 314-9646. You can also reach
the church office (814) 449-8515 or mail a package or what not to:
Church of the Nativity
109 German St
Erie, PA 16507
Nolan School of Music
3306 Buffalo Rd
Erie, PA 16510
If it’s a package the music shop is a better choice since Stephen is always there and there’s only some one in the church office twice a week.
Thank you for your love and care for the needy of this world. This is the season to work on earning many crowns in heaven or polish a few up
With love in Christ