“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability....To be alive is to be vulnerable,” says Madeleine L’Engle.
Jesus seems to agree.
During Lent we follow Jesus and journey into the wildness of the wilderness and find the power of vulnerability.next >
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Luke 4:3-4next >
If you have ever gone on a diet or at least attempted to eat more healthily, you know what it is like to hunger for food or for that one particularly rich and fatty item. In my experience it is precisely those things I am unable to have that most occupy my thoughts and desires. The experience of deprivation — whether chosen or imposed — reminds us of our limitations and vulnerabilities.
So why does Jesus choose to face his limitations and expose himself to the utter vulnerability of fasting? By demonstrating that our worst enemies are inside us and tempting us to take an easier path, Jesus is demonstrating that vulnerability is our strength. When we experience the fact that food and comfort themselves are insufficient to nourish us, then we know the truth and have nothing to fear.
How can you face the truth of your powerlessness and make it your strength?
Luke Fodornext >
Fearless Jesus, teach me to avoid the temptation to always insulate myself from my fears and vulnerabilities. Help me to face down my temptations to hide my weaknesses, and grant me the strength to claim them as my own. Amen.next >
May God the creator empower you to see your vulnerability as your source of strength, prompting you to reach out to the vulnerable and marginalized in your life.
May God the servant cultivate abundant love in you, allowing you to display your truest and most vulnerable self.
May God the comforter give you enough peace for you to share your insecurities and vulnerabilities with the world.
Luke Fodor is the assistant rector of St. John’s Church in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, where he works with children, youth, and young families. He loves spending time outside with his two boys and wife outside at the beach, kayaking, hiking, or cycling.
Pass Me Not, Oh Gentle Saviour