March 13, 2011
First Sunday in Lent
Lessons: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Psalm 32, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11
Genesis 3:7 [Adam and Eve} knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
The story of Adam and Eve is difficult to understand. I’ve never made sense of why God would object to his creation knowing the difference between good and evil. I would imagine had he told them he didn’t want them to be able to distinguish green from blue they would have eaten the forbidden fruit as well. It seems to be what we do.
There’s comfort in knowing that the Apostle Paul suffered from the same malady: Those things which I ought not to do, I do.
Lent is a time to examine what drives our choices. It’s a season when the Church gathers to account for the layers of fig leaves we’ve sewn together to hide our nakedness. We’ve undoubtedly spent the last year trying to sell God and others on the notion that they’re merely a “fashion statement”, hoping someone will believe us. Lent tells us the “gig is up”.
John Baillie, author of Diary of Private Prayer, pens a petition in his devotional book that reads: “May my motives be transparent to all.” I’ve prayed hundreds of prayers in my lifetime, but that one terrifies me. It haunts like the psalmist who writes, “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”
The good news of Eden doesn’t come until verse 9 when God calls out to Adam and says, “Where are you?” And God hunts the garden down until he finds him.
God is still on the hunt. Lent holds open the invitation to be found.
Lord, you know my hiding places. Rattle the branches and flush me out into the arms of you redeeming embrace. Amen.