Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Sunday of Lent - A Greater Mercy

The LORD God… blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” –Genesis 2:7 

Many of us are familiar with the story of “the fall” in the Garden of Eden and the first sins of humanity. Reading and praying with the passages this Sunday, we might be tempted to focus on our own failures and sinfulness. Yet, the central message of the three readings is not that we are bad or should feel guilty for falling short of Jesus’ strength in resisting temptation.

The primary message is how incredibly good God is to us, constantly offering the source of life. While Satan offers Jesus food, power, and an illusion of control, God has created a space where the conditions are optimal for us to meet Him. We are free to either join God in the space He has created for us or to attempt to build our own sense of security.

For me, this reliance on false promises is particularly seductive when I am feeling most alone or like my life is out of control. I grasp at whatever might fill this void and restore my previous homeostasis. But what if that feeling of hunger is actually an invitation to look at my deeper longing for God? What if the sense of powerlessness is actually an invitation to trust more that God has been looking out for me?

We can look at the Garden of Eden as a literal, physical space where Adam and Eve lived in a paradise with God. The challenge for me is to imagine a space God has created that is perfectly suited as a meeting place just for Him and I. Just as my best friend and I have a special restaurant that is “our place” to meet up for significant conversations, I imagine God fashioning “our place” that is unique to us. When I am feeling lonely or tempted, I can spend a lot of energy trying to feel like I am in control or I can simply choose to pull up a chair at my rendezvous spot with God and trust that no matter what time it is, he will already be there waiting for me with a cup of my favorite coffee. 

What has breathed life into my body and soul today? How have I allowed myself to be met by God?

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