When you hear the phrase, I got this, what comes to mind? Is the image of a baseball diamond, with a fly ball headed your way, and calling out to your teammates, I got this. Or is the image of a superhero type who sees a speeding train heading down the tracks out of control and comes in to stop the train saying, I got this. Maybe it’s not a superhero, but just a regular everyday hero who says to someone’s time of need, I got this. What if you don’t buy in to all that hero stuff and it is just you, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps saying, I got this. Then there is the image of a small child who is just learning to dress themselves and they tell the parent, I got this, only to end up with their shoes on the wrong feet or their shirt on backward. Each of these instances show that someone is taking charge of the situation at hand and handling it. Taking charge appeals to our sense of individuality and as in the instance of the small child, clearly shows our independence. We don’t need anyone else.
We have talked quite a bit over the past few Sundays about the urgency in Mark’s gospel through the use of the word immediately. Today’s lesson show the same urgency in the telling of the temptation story. The other gospels go into a long, detailed description of what happened when the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. It tells of the types of temptations he had to endure. Mark on the other hand told the whole story in just two sentences. Jesus was baptized, driven into the wilderness, attended to by angels in his time of temptation and then goes about proclaiming the Good News. Some people hold the idea that once we are baptized, it creates a type of shield and nothing bad should ever happen in our lives again. But it does. That’s life. There is no way of preventing hardships in our lives.
The urgency in the words of Mark’s gospel might also have had to do with the fact that for early Christians, they were of the belief that the whole story would happen in their lifetime. The stories were retold and shared amongst the believers so there couldn’t possibly be a need to write the stories down. But, as those who were living in the time of Jesus began dying off, they realized that in order to preserve those stories for future generations they would need to write them down. This was a crisis of sorts for them, because they did not want the stories to die with them. When there is a crisis in our lives, that means something has changed. We can be going along and everything is fine, but then something happens. That is our wilderness. When we are connected in community, we become more aware of our experiences. Our temptations are things that cause us to make a choice that is different than what we set out to do. Our growth comes from looking at those experiences and learning from them.
During those crisis experiences, just like Jesus, we are ministered to by angels. We have plenty of images of angels in our lives. Molly has a whole collection of cute little angels, but we don’t see these beings in our world walking around with wings and halos. However, angels are with us. We are not alone. Angels are us and in the people who surround us. Whether it is the sudden feeling of calm in the midst of crisis when there is no one around, or if it is the actions and words of people who help us through those difficult times. Culture tells us we don’t need anyone else; we can do this by ourselves. But God never intended for us to go through life alone. Through baptism we are brought into a community of believers. We are nurtured at communion in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus came into the world, so we would know God is with us. God sent his son into the world to say, I got this.