Temptation

Thanks to Hope for Creation, Australia, for permission to repost.  Hope for Creation is a Christian organization, but people of all Abrahamic traditions share the scripture that is the basis of this piece.  The excellent links are also curated by HfC.

Imagine being told that you must live within limits.

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Imagine hearing God’s voice saying that you may not consume every last resource in the garden, no matter how attractive, now matter how wonderful its rewards. They are there to be enjoyed, but there are limits.

“You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.”

Imagine prizing your freedom and your capacity to scoff at limits above obedience.

“The serpent said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?’”  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.”

Imagine prizing the richness of the reward above obedience.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise…”

Imagine consuming, knowing the consequences, or denying that there would be consequences at all, or hoping without reason that you could avoid the consequences or somehow be rescued from them, but desiring – above all – to have more. To have it all.

“… and they ate.”

Imagine being driven out of that beautiful garden – all the world you have ever known – into anew and hostile world, where the consequences of your consumption will be visited upon you and your children.

“Cursed is the ground because of you.”

Imagine your longing to return, to recapture what you have lost. No, not what you lost. What you threw away.

But you can’t. For between you and the tree of life stands an angel and a sword, flaming and turning.

So now, as you and your nation and the world continue to consume resources gifted by God and around which limits have been placed, imagine obedience.

And, after imagining, practice obedience.

And invite others to join you in leaving fruit on the tree, coal in the ground, oil unburned, and enough of a garden remaining to nurture and tend. Invite others to join you in building the households and communities who will be agents of grace, generosity and unselfish stewardship in the hard and hurting world beyond the garden.

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Point of interest: the Aussies are in summer right now, and have recently experienced a heat wave so extreme that bats dropped, dead, or dying, by the hundreds, from the sky.