Adam and Eve do not passively listen to the snake’s temptation.
It is clear from Eve’s response to him that she has
been thinking about this all along. The snake says, “Did God
say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Eve answers
by enlarging and elaborating on the original simple command,
adding that they were also told where the tree was and that they
were not even to touch it, or they would die.

The snake tells them they won’t die. He hints that the God
who has provided them up to this point with everything they
need now holds out on them to keep them from becoming like
God. Perhaps their thinking that God has secret motives is their
ultimate temptation.

Sure enough, Adam and Eve eat the fruit and don’t die.
The great knowledge God has been holding back from them,
however, seemingly turns out to be no more than to notice that
they are naked and to feel shamed by it. Rather than preparing
a confession to God about their action, they sew some makeshift
clothes to hide in.

When God comes to find them in the garden, the man does
not take responsibility for his own actions. He blames Eve, and
even God’s own self for giving him Eve. Eve, meanwhile, plans
to blame the snake. The result of all this blaming signifies more
than symbolic death. All human relations, divine relations, and
relations with the animals are forever broken as we humans fail
to take responsibility for our actions and, instead, try to save
ourselves by turning against one another.

If only this story had no relevance to us now! But this broken
human state is what we will seek to recognize during Lent
with the promise of a coming Easter.

Dear God, help us to realize that, whatever we may suspect, you want only what is best for our well-being. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 4:1-11

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Lectionary Week
February 27–March 5, 2017
Scripture Overview

The texts for Ash Wednesday are all ominous in nature, pointing forward to the redemptive power of God’s grace. Lent is a time when Christians reflect on their mortality and sin, as well as on the creative and re-creative power of God. The original parents of humanity could not resist the seduction of the serpent, but that narrative stands beside the story of Jesus’ lonely and painful resistance to the power of Satan. In Romans, the “one man’s obedience” by which “the many will be made righteous” is the quality that endures. The Joel passage is an alarm bell in the darkness of the night. Those who are caught in this terrible moment cannot hope to save themselves, for they are powerless to do anything on their own behalf. They are powerless to do anything, that is, except to repent and to open themselves to God’s intervening mercy.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7. What choices have you made that put you outside God’s intention for your life?
• Read Psalm 32. Are there unconfessed wrongdoings in your life that need God’s forgiveness? Will this Lent be a time when you can nd the freedom forgiveness brings?
• Read Romans 5:12-19. Have you experienced a relationship that has died? How has God renewed that time in your life?
• Read Matthew 4:1-11. What has tempted you to set faith aside and to trust only in yourself? How did that work out?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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