The Devil’s In The Dough
by Lexiann Grant
“Deliver me God from the hand of the wicked
From the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor”
“We are not contending against flesh and blood…but against the rulers of the darkness…”
Book of Occasional Services 2018
Tenebrae, Antiphon 3,excerpt Lesson 5
The dark side, I am convinced, is almost always on a mission, however subtle, to block the Light from shining in this world. Dare I say it? The Evil One stoops not just to great, but also to petty, minute, lengths to prevent God from reaching us, or prevent God from reaching others through us.
Almost every month when I’m about to begin writing for this column, a major issue arises that hinders the Work.
Even exploding cookie dough. Don’t ask. You probably don’t want to know.
Cookie dough, exploding or otherwise, is obviously not a major spiritual event. But it can serve as a tool of disruption — the last proverbial straw that breaks serenity and prompts verbal explosions that are distinctly un-Christ-like – and which change the time into prolonged, painstaking clean-up instead of writing.
Over the last several months, our household has experienced multiple family and close deaths, illnesses, hospitalizations, and surgeries with related stressors and grief. We’ve had ongoing replacement of two leaking showers and toilets, unending construction, dust, clutter, upheaval and distress, due to a first builder who shouldn’t play with LegoTM blocks, let alone construct houses. There have been failing appliances, delays or inability to get repairs and parts, or new ones that don’t work the day they’re delivered.
Of course there are the usual living problems: too many necessary appointments, schedule conflicts, getting supplies and groceries while avoiding covid-careless shoppers and clerks. Then there’s the unavoidable pet mess to clean right at the worst possible time.
Sound familiar? Do you relate?
My mother (Episcopalian and occasional Presbyterian) and aunt (a saint by most definitions) seemed to live a large portion of their lives smoothly, without the Darkness inhibiting their outward examples of faith. They both prayed all the time. And both believed that when Satan attacked, attack right back – quote scripture and send him packing.
I’ve seen both of them lay hands on troublesome appliances or vehicles and pray. Then seen these items work! I’ve heard them tell the devil to get his hands off of their lives. And yep, it happened, no more interference.
After I screeched to God about the cookie dough I lost without enjoying, and asking, “Why? How about a little help here?” I gave it a shot. I prayed over the leaking shower (after another, “why?”). I prayed over the faltering washer. I prayed about the painful wisdom tooth trying to come through the roof of my mouth.
All fixed? Nope, but improved, and there is some resolution in sight. Most importantly, I’m better for having turned to prayer, towards the bright and holy, and away from the darkness and despair. If all goes according to plan (hopefully it’s God’s plan too), there will be another article for Episcopal Cafe for another month.
Each of us at times in our lives will be thwarted from doing a godly task. When the evil one interferes with Christ’s light working in your life, tell him Adios, Au revoir and maybe gesundheit too so you can continue to be God’s hands and feet on earth.
The Darkness lurks, watches, waits, but the Light shines on.
…As for the cookies, I guess I really didn’t need them…
NOTE: Although I believe that evil and the Adversary are real, and take them seriously as a part of my spiritual practices, I have here chosen to address this dark subject with lightheartedness. “The devill…the prowde spirite…cannot endure to be mocked,” noted Thomas More. Concurring, Martin Luther advised, “The best way to drive out the devil…is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”
For additional, serious reading on this topic see:
Excellent article by the Rev. Ann Tofani “Spiritual Warfare” at the Episcopal Diocese of central and southern Illinois website
“No Power of Hell” Earth and Altar online magazine partner of Forward Movement publications
Preface from “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/arts/lit/PDFs/ScrewtapeLetters_CSL.pdf
Lexiann Grant is a retired writer & author, a former chalicer and layreader, but still an Episcopalian who enjoys encountering God in the mountain backcountry.