I have a Newfoundland dog named Fergus. He is docile, loyal, and obedient. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, he is always the same. You can depend on it. He is constant. Steadfast. That’s the only way he can be. Only one time in seven years has he departed from his nature and character. We were in a situation indoors that was extremely crowded and very loud. And he just pulled out of his collar and headed to the door to get out. That’s the only time he has not been completely “himself.”
As humans, our character and behavior are more complex. We can’t be counted on to have these constant character traits. We are all a mix of good and bad and it’s always a toss up which side is going to triumph in any given circumstance. The story of Adam and Eve is a way of explaining that humans are this way. It is simply our nature. And we cannot overcome it. Think of how someone you would least expect does something very bad and completely out of character. We all know that this happens. We also know that sometimes people we don’t expect much of surprise us with their good will or generosity. Who would have thought it? We are always a mix. That is our nature. That is the character of our species.
We can never be totally, unquestionably good and pure. And we are never completely bad, immoral, and beyond redemption.
Lent is a time to honestly accept our full humanity and the full humanity of others.
Lectionary readings for the day:
Prayer: May we never give up on ourselves or one another. With eyes open to our potential for evil and harm, may we cultivate the good that is within every human being. Amen.