Here at Newberry College, we sponsor series of devotionals during the seasons of Advent and Lent. The installments are written by faculty, staff, alumni, students, and/or friends of the college. Typically, the devotional takes the form of an assigned passage of Scripture, followed by a brief reflection and a prayer. I wrote the devotionals for this past Friday, yesterday, and today.
Gen. 3: 14-24 (KJV)
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
A few days ago, as we heard the story of the Fall of Man, we realized that if the story ended there, it would be tragedy. And on first reading of the chapter’s end, it does seem tragic. Adam and Eve will labor, and suffer, and die. They are sent out of the Garden to begin that long process.
But our faith is not a tragic one. Tucked into the sentences God pronounces on the participants in the Fall, we are told that while evil may cause us pain, some future generation will overcome that evil once and for all, trampling the Serpent and its ilk into the dust forever. This, of course, is the miracle of Christ’s Incarnation, when God becomes Man and takes on the deadly punishment for sin despite being sinless Himself. The scales will be balanced, and the world made right.
Yes, Lent is a time for reflection on our own wrongs and Christ’s suffering to redress those wrongs. But it should also be a time in which we reflect on the hope God gives us – that the darkness of Lent will be replaced by the empty tomb and the brightness of an Easter morning.
Our Father, we know we have earned the sorrows we face. But thank You for reminding us that they are not everything. Thank You for telling us that You will triumph over all our sorrows, even to the pain of death. In the Name of Your Son, Amen.