by Erin Counihan / March 12, 2014
We church folk like to name our Sundays.
Baptism of the Lord Sunday
and on and on.
Well, I’m offering a new one. Devil Sunday. This past Sunday at PCOL was Devil Sunday, the week in which we read and discuss the temptation of Christ in worship. If you came to either of our Sunday services, you heard a lot about our little, red pointy-headed foe this week. In the morning service, Kimmy Stokesbary gave us a solid list of devil characters in our books, movies and culture. And at the evening WINK service, Jeff Vamos gave us the history of the devil in biblical times. I was thinking that those of us who double dipped on Devil Sunday services should have won a prize, like a little red rubber ducky devil, or an “I worshipped with the devil…twice” t-shirt or something.
And although I didn’t come away from these services with a prize, I did leave with a nagging question. At WINK, Jeff asked us, how does the devil influence you?
Now, I fall into the camp that doesn’t necessarily believe in the devil as an entity. I don’t actually think there really is a little, red pointy-headed foe out there trying to seduce me into evil ways. But I do see a whole lot of evil in this world and often in my own heart. And whatever character, power, presence or force that draws me toward that evil, and away from my relationship with God (as preacher Kimmy would point out) has tremendous influence over me.
In my life, this devil presence mostly manifests through laziness and complacency. I try to do good as often as possible, but some days, I just want to stay home in my jammies and watch Netflix. I know there are service projects happening on campus on a certain day, but it is sunny out and my dog is really cute. I know there is a group trying to organize a rally in Trenton, but I don’t know any of those players and wouldn’t know who to call even if I wanted to get involved. I watched a documentary about food production, but keep buying the cheap meat a Shoprite because it is right there and works with my budget. I have neighbors who are being racially profiled and targeted, but I am so tired of race discussions that go nowhere that I simply stop showing up for the conversations.
I’m not saying we all have to fight all battles on all fronts. We can’t. We’d never have time to eat or sleep or buy devil rubber duckies. But if I am being honest with myself, that devil presence in my life sneaks in and tells me it’s okay to skip a meeting or a class or a service project or worship or a neighborhood function or a play date with a kid, and to take a load off, and rest. So that’s the devil I keep watch for.
How about you? How does the devil influence you?