“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6:13)
I woke up this morning, after a few fitful hours of sleep, with these words on my lips.
Yesterday, after more than six years of working from home, I gave in to temptation. Today, I face my regrets, reciting the Lord’s Prayer as part of my daily blessings.
You may wonder why a rabbi is reciting what is considered to be a Christian prayer. I’m not surprised, however, since I’ve been a student of History of Religions since my college days, when I learned that The Lords’ Prayer is rooted in Jewish texts, including the Talmud. If you are interested in this matter, I recommend Julie Galambush’s The Reluctant Parting, especially the chapter on The Synoptic Gospels. I am more interested, however, in confessing my trespasses than discussing the Jewish roots of Christian prayer.
My morning routine usually involves dropping my son at school, listening to NPR news on the short ride home, walking the dog and sitting down to write—a routine that has been disrupted this week. Jewish guilt impels me to offer this excuse before immediately retracting it and taking full responsibility for making a bad choice.
I return from running errands and attending a meeting at my daughter’s school, and decide to have an early lunch before starting my work. I sit down on the couch with a sandwich and turn on the television with the intention of catching up on the news.
Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, begins his briefing on the shootings in Ottawa, speaking earnestly about the close relationship between the United States and Canada. Thousands of people are locked down, without knowing too many details of the events that precipitated the lockdown, as provider’s of the 24-hour news cycle try to make sense of the chaos. Someone makes a reference to 9/11 and I’m transported back in time. I sit, mesmerized, long after my lunch break should have concluded.
Later in the day, I give into a second temptation; scrolling through my Facebook News Feed, I learn about a dead infant in Jerusalem, an injured young woman on the Israeli-Egyptian border.
Late in the evening, near midnight, I succumb to the first temptation a second time. I learn from Rachel Maddow that Ottawa’s lockdown did not lift until after nightfall. There is some good news, too, about the two patients who were being treated for Ebola having fully recovered. But this tidbit comes too late to nourish me; the surfeit of bad news that I invited into my home—all day—has weighed me down with worry.
I sit on the couch, watching reruns of my favorite cop shows, hoping they will offer an escape from reality, a passageway to sleep. My brain concedes long after my legs have fallen asleep under the weight of a sleeping dog.
Today, I don’t give in to temptations of television or Facebook news. I forgive myself yesterday’s trespasses and beg God to deliver us—our world—from evil.