1st Sunday of Lent
March 1, 2020
The story of Adam and Eve is so familiar to us. Adam and Eve were given everything they could possibly imagine. Their food literally grew on trees; they lived in beautiful surroundings; most importantly, they were able to walk with the Lord and converse with him face to face. They knew God existed and lived in friendship with him. But there was a catch – they were also in the middle of a test – the test of obedience. What was the nature of this test?
God made one tree deliberately off-limits. It was appealing to look at and the fruit looked delicious and seemed to have benefits they would gain by disobeying God. Yet God had warned them that everything would be lost – they would be expelled from paradise and die – if they did that one thing they were commanded not to do. The temptation proved irresistible.
In a very real sense, the story of Adam and Eve is the story of our lives too, for we are all undergoing a similar kind of test ourselves. No, we don’t live in paradise; we do not see God face to face; most of us have to work for a living; all of us will die one day. But God has promised through his Son Jesus to restore to us all that we have lost and infinitely more besides – if we have faith in him. But am I obedient to God? Obedience proves whether we have faith or not. While none of us is perfect, trying to obey God’s commandments is how we demonstrate to him that we love him.
We face “Adam and Eve” moments on a regular basis. I was intrigued by an interview in the paper by a traffic cop who has been working the I-5 corridor in an unmarked police car. He pointed out that when he is in a marked car he is surrounded by what he calls a “bubble of good driving” that lasts only until he is out of sight for many drivers! Like Adam and Eve, people come up with the most incredible excuses when they are caught speeding. One lady even told him that she was driving at 110 mph in order to show her grandson (who was in the car) how not to drive! The officer didn’t buy this excuse; God didn’t buy Adam and Eve’s excuse. He won’t buy yours either. What he wants is for us to own up to what we have done.
Here are some “Adam and Eve” moments. Am I obedient when no one is watching or when I think I can get away with something? Am I willing to cheat on my income taxes or steal from my employer if I feel they have been unfair to me and that I “deserve” to get back at them? Do I treat people in my public life different than I treat my family? Do I work as hard when my supervisor or teacher is watching as I do when I am alone?
Will I reach for that forbidden fruit, which will break part of my relationship with God? God won’t brook any excuses when you get caught, any more than Adam and Eve did – but he is willing to forgive you, especially in confession – if only you seek him out.