Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Lent, March 1st, 2020
Unconditional Love by Samuel Ludlow-Broback
March 1, 2020
In today’s readings, we see original sin being committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and in the Gospel, we hear the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. These two stories provide us as Christians key themes for what it means to be human and what it means to be Christian. The parallel between the stories is fascinating; we see Satan tempting Eve in an almost identical way to the temptation of Jesus. Adam and Eve have been given the gift of life from a God who loves them dearly. Yet, when offered to be like God by the snake, they choose to chase that desire despite being advised by God not to. With Jesus, we see Satan offering Jesus food and all the kingdoms in the world. Sometimes I think about how tempting it would have been to just take the food or to accept all the power that Satan was offering. Have you ever missed a meal, fasted for a day or been forced to go without food? How hard is it to deny our bodily instinct and respect the religious and moral callings in our lives?
The connection between these stories is crucial to our Christian identity. We as humans are sinners. We choose sin just as Adam and Eve do. Sometimes our sins are bodily but sometimes, as is the case with Eve, they are spiritual. Remember, there is no notion that Eve is hungry - she simply wants to be like God. And so we fall. So many times we as humans fall in attempt to be Godlike just like Eve does. As unfortunate as that is, it leads to the great joy which is Christian salvation. For as we saw in these two stories, humans tried to be like God and fell, but Jesus Christ, one with God and fully divine, emptied Godself and became human. While we fail to deny our temptations and choose sin, God enters humanity and shows us how to perfectly love by dying for all of us. That unconditional love is the key of these stories. Look at this image: would anybody want to be in this place that Jesus is in? Especially God, who already has all things, knows all things and creates all things? This image powerfully illustrates what God gave up in joining humanity and all of the hardships that come with that. Jesus was hungry, was tempted, was tired. And so, I think it is key to remember God’s love in these stories. For when we disobey God who gave us everything, we weren’t abandoned. Instead, God brought us so close to God that God entered human history. We must try and love as Jesus loves; we must attempt to deny those spiritual and physical temptations and instead choose to respond to God’s love with our own expression of unconditional love.
How do you experience God’s unconditional love? How do these readings help you understand your relationship with God?
Master’s of Theological Studies, Spring 2022, Ph.D. work