by Dave Robinson
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7 | Romans 5: 12-19 | Matthew 4:1-11
“God made all kinds of beautiful trees grow there and produce good fruit. In the middle of the garden stood the tree that gives life and the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad.” ~ Genesis 2:8
From our very creation we have been gifted with the ability–and the responsibility–to choose for ourselves whether we will be God’s people and follow God’s laws. In the garden, we chose to exercise control over the knowledge of good and evil. The price we paid was separation from God. In that separation we became bound up in all sorts of necessary efforts to control our environment. We have done a terrible job. Our control over the planet and its resources has led us to the very brink of disaster. We have given over our ultimate control of our economy and politics to the oil and coal industry–the most powerful human enterprise in the history of the world. Ironically, we now find ourselves waging endless war over control of those resources while enduring all sorts of “false accusations and malicious speech” regarding the environmental and health effects of our reliance on fossil fuels.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gave us a clear example of how temptation works and he invites us to follow his example of fidelity to God over the temptations to power and control. Once again, God places a choice before each of us, just as Jesus faced that choice. We can love God, obey God’s law and be the bearers of justice, and place ourselves in service to God’s intent; or we can choose the easy way of worldly control through power, domination and self-interest. One option is faithful, the other instinctive. One choice locates our ultimate allegiance to God, the other to this world and its constructs.
Our discipleship journey is a constant call to move back onto the path that Jesus marked for us–a path that calls us to be instruments of God’s peace. As an instrument, we place ourselves in humble service to God’s work.
This reflection is from Into Your Hands: Reflections for Lent 2005, by Pax Christi USA Executive Director Dave Robinson.