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Temptations of Christ San Marco

Temptation of Christ, 12th-century mosaic in St Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy. Public Domain — Wikimedia.

ALenten poem by Cassie E. Brown inspired by Inspired by Matthew 4:1-11, the Gospel reading for the 1st Sunday in Lent, February 26, 2023.

All the Kingdoms of the World (and their splendor)

Sin has a hole where it ought to have a heart

Where blessings are hoarded into worm-rot.

Here is my pride: see the palm frond blackening?

Flint-gray ash flaking and falling from

Bowed head. Burnt witness of my frailty.

Forty days and forty nights. A drop in the bucket

List of what eats me, bleeds me, stains me.

I profess. I confess. I sin. I kneel. But forgiveness

Is not bought and paid by scarlet-faced shame; or

Purchased through loathing and parch-mouthed penance.

I need to let go of the lie of these, in truth of all that I am:

A walking, talking, tear-rusted, grief-twisted, holy, worldly

Gift. (Alleluia.) I need to find the truth of who God is:

Staff-struck water of life, bleeding from the rock. (Alleluia.)

I am made new and capable of giving grace.

What am I, if not angel-fed and sated on miracles to surfeit?

Cassie E. Brown

Cassie E. Brown is Deanery Secretary to the Central Deanery, and is a member of Calvary Episcopal Church, Sedalia.

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