(Liturgy notes from 3.5.2017 to go with the readings: Genesis 1:26-27+31; 2:15-17 3:1-7, Matthew 4:1-11)
We need to revisit how the story of Humanity began.
It began with God creating humans in love, both male and female, and declaring them to be very good. Every other day was merely good, but this day of Human creation was very good.
In the Garden of Genesis 1, God mirrored love and goodness to the humans and they breathed it in like oxygen. Everything they saw was full of love and goodness. They could be naked without shame, because all they knew was approval.
One day a serpent put a different thought in their minds. It started with a question.
“Did God say…”
The entire temptation is contained within the first three words. With this question, the force field of goodness and love came down and the humans learned to see in a new way. Rather than Love and goodness, humans now saw the world through the lens of desire.
This little word desire has history:
They desired the fruit… (Gen. 3:6)
They desired to possess + rule each other… (Gen. 3:16)
They desired what others had… (Gen 4
They desired God’s knowledge + power. (Gen 3:5-7)
(Desire can also be translated as covet or lust and turns up in the longest prohibition of the 10 Commandments - You shall not COVET…)
So, while the Human's goodness remained, but they were now ruled by desire.
And how did they know what to desire?
Like all children at a certain age, they wanted whatever another kid was playing with. Surrounded by toys, only one toy mattered.
Ruled by desire we are no different, our desires imitate the desires of others. We desire what others have. Look around and you will quickly see this to be true.
Thousands of years later, the Bible tells the story of another human who faced off with a Serpent (Matthew 4). a serpent put a different thought in their minds. It started with a question.
“If you are the son of God…”
Like the first humans, God had mirrored this son with love and goodness. But unlike the first humans, this son did not lose himself to a serpentine question. His goodness did not give way to desire. He remained true to what he already was, loved and good.
He refused to desire what the serpent offered.
He refused to desire what others had.
In these refusals, he found the ability to live in love and goodness. He revealed a long lost way to be human. He was able to see and mirror love and goodness to the humans we walked among. He remind them that there was more than desire. Even unto death, he clung to love and goodness.
Full of life + love + goodness, He invited his followers to imitate Him instead of continuing to imitate the deadly desires of each others.