I’m told that 7 is the number. Not the “Lucky 7,” or even the “Magic 7.” Just that 7 is the age when young Junior (or Jane) reaches the “age of reason.” By that our Church means that he or she knows the difference between right and wrong. What that means is that the star of a thousand smart phone photos and the official “Curator of Cute Doings” can turn less than cute at times. All of this is the natural way for human creatures to grow.

The Bible, specifically the Book of Genesis that we hear from this weekend, tells us that God’s original plan did not include anything like sin. In fact, our ancestors brought it forward by their disobedience to the one command from God to stay away from just this one tree in the garden.

Century upon century ever since that wily snake that spoke would use all his know-how and trickery to keep us as trapped and imprisoned by hatred as he is. Despite being made for goodness and love, mankind succumbed to sin. Love was lost. Hatred won. Until…

Until a beautiful young girl living in a dusty little village in the Roman dominated land of Palestine said “Yes” to an angelic visitor who asked of her in God’s own name to be the Mother of our Savior. That holy birth would end the reign of sin in the main, even if individuals were to keep falling for the lie. The age number her Son reached when His triumph came was 33.

Along the way to His victory, as we know, Jesus met resistance to His teaching. The snake still hovered in the background. Chief among the dissenters were the very people who claimed to be the teachers of righteousness. They it was who ultimately engineered Christ’s crucifixion, even with an unspoken fear deep inside them that feared their hold on the people would self-destruct.

What you and I must remember is that no matter our age, there is always the possibility of an internally divided kingdom in our souls. The effects are that while we desire to do what is right, our very weakness lets us yield to the tug of temptation more often than we want. So, we need help. We need God. We need His healing mercy. That’s the only way we can hope to attain heaven. It’s the one place where the snake is forever gone, and age numbers do not count.

Of course, temptations never seem to cease. Case in point: Avery overweight man decided that it was time to shed a few pounds. He went on a new diet and took it seriously. He even changed his usual driving route on the way to the office precisely to avoid passing his favorite bakery. One morning, however, he arrived at the office carrying a large, sugar-coated, calorie-loaded coffee cake.

For this he was roundly chided by his colleagues, but he only smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “What could I do? This is a very special cake. What happened is that, by force of habit, I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning, and there in the window were trays full of the most scrumptious goodies.

Well, I felt this was no accident that I happened to pass by this way, so I prayed’ “Lord, if You really want me to have one of those delicious coffee cakes, let me find a parking space right in front of the bakery.’ Sure enough, on the ninth time around the block, there it was.”

God love you and give you His strength against temptation.

Rev. Peterson’s Reading & Gospel Summary

Reading I: Genesis 3: 9-15

Eating from the forbidden tree begins the reign of sin and the banishment from the garden of Adam and Eve. The garden was the locale of God.

Reading II: 2 Corinthians 4:13 to 5:1

Having the spirit of faith, we are to believe that we will be raised up by the same God who raised Jesus from the dead.

The Gospel: Mark 3: 20-35

Jesus embarrasses His family and angers the scribes. He tells a parable about divided kingdoms that stand or fall.