March 1: Lent 2020 #1

Layperson Lecture #5

To quote Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1, “There is a time for every purpose under heaven.” So now it’s time for a Layperson Lecture! I’m Constance McEntee, seminary drop-out and the Idiot Before G0D.

The scripture selections for the first Sunday of Lent, 1 March 2020, come from

GENESIS 2:15-17; 3:1-7 describes the Devil, in the form of the Serpent, tempting Eve and Adam to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and, thus, committing the first sin.

PSALM 32 is about being honest regarding the things we’ve done wrong, and making an effort to atone for the harm we’ve done. The psalm suggests life will be better for us when we’re honest about our wrongdoing.

ROMANS 5:12-19 is … well, it’s Saint Paul and he and I have a rocky relationship. In this selection, he says that all humanity was corrupted by Adam’s — not Eve’s — sin. But it’s okay, because Jesus redeemed all humanity. Since the both Original Sin (Eve and Adam eating the Forbidden Fruit) and Substitutionary Atonement (Jesus’ death and resurrection) don’t make a lot of sense to me, I really don’t know how to address this other than to say to Saint Paul, “Hey, OP, quick question: what the heck?”

The Gospel according to Saint MATTHEW 4:1-11 talks about when Jesus when he was fasting in the wilderness and the Devil tried to tempt him.

Drawing these selections together for a CONCLUSION seems fairly straight forward. But, I’m an adversarial theologian and I’m not remotely straight. To my mind, the Devil — the Accuser, the Adversary, Satan — is not the enemy in this story. He can’t be the Enemy, if Jesus’ death and resurrection were needed to correct the Sin of Adam. Rather, Satan’s actions were necessary for Jesus to claim the victory on the Third Day.

But as I said before, I don’t subscribe to the ideas of Original Sin and Substitutionary Atonement. So: what do these scripture selections mean to me? They mean making mistakes are important parts of growing and learning.

I offer this BENEDICTION: Let us learn from mistakes — ours as well as the mistakes of others — with the blessings of the Lover, the Beloved, and the Love Overflowing. Amen, and go with G0D.