“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made.”
Several years ago I led a session for youth and parents on temptation. To begin the work I asked everyone to write down the one thing they struggle with more than anything else. I expected the responses would focus on sexual temptation, drugs and alcohol, and cheating on homework or taxes. All of those were mentioned at least once but the number one response from the 50 or so teens and their moms and dads was the impulse to run away. A few even explained why they wanted to leave their responsibilities behind. One young mom wrote, “I’m tired of feeling like the household slave. I want to feel like a free human being again.”
I suspect that most of us can relate to this desire to get away from it all. Whenever the Miles family gets overwhelmingly busy at home and work and school and church and the office, I usually call Julie and ask, teasingly, “Are you ready for the beach?”
Something like that is going on in the garden. The serpent (note that this is not the Devil, just a really slimy character in the story), the craftiest of God’s creation, invites the woman and the man to run away from their idyllic life, to become like God. Talk about crafty! What could be the harm?
There is much to say but one thing is clear, the serpent is inviting them to run away from themselves, to turn their backs on becoming the ones that God created them to be. This simple thought points us to the hard work of Lent. It is not so much about avoiding something bad as much as it is simply moving toward becoming the marvelous human God has already created you to be.
Prayer: Dear God, Give us the courage and the grace we need to simply be ourselves. AMEN