One of the more modern manifestations of the original sin that introduced man to his mortality is the survivalist movement. These are people who dedicate themselves to hoarding supplies and mastering self-defense techniques to protect themselves from either man-made or God-wrought Armageddon. That’s ironic, considering the culture of death in which we’ve imprisoned ourselves. Man has not only deceived himself into thinking he has control over his own life, but that he has the right to select the souls that join him in this desert of death to which Adam banished us.
This Sunday’s readings take us on a tour of that desert, starting with the day we entered it. We did so of our own free will, knowingly flouting our relationship with the One who created us for paradise. Instead, we chose a relationship with the one who was cast out before we were. We knew God’s law—don’t try to steal what’s God’s, or you’ll die. Eve recited that law to the tempter.
“You certainly will not die,” Satan responded.
“No, God knows well that the moment you eat of [the forbidden fruit]
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
Satan tempted us out of paradise and into the desert of death with him. And there death reigned with Satan for many years until God sent his second Adam to give us the key back into his kingdom; one key to one door. Jesus the Christ forged that key in the desert as he set in motion his plans to rebuild the kingdom to which that doorway would lead.
Satan did his best to torture Jesus into worshipping him, just as he did with the first Adam and all of his descendants. But it was Satan who felt the torture of God’s truth as Jesus entered that desert and taught him the first lesson of God’s earthly ministry:
“The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”
Before Jesus departed this desert of death, he left the key to his Kingdom in a little survival kit called the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a contract we must all sign onto that acknowledges God’s holy status as our Father, whose will must be done on earth as it is in heaven. He agrees to feed us our daily bread and forgive us our faults—as long as we do the same for our brothers and sisters. And he promises that if we do these things he’ll not only protect us from the kind of test his Son survived but he’d protect us from the Evil One he overcame.
This Lent, if you live up to that contract every day you’ll find an oasis to help you survive until His kingdom comes.