HE DOESN’T KNOW ME
"This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you.” – Gen. 9:12
I was balancing two kids, a Star Wars backpack, and our weekly cup of coffee for the teacher as we entered the preschool yard. Paul points an accusatory figure at the boy skipping ahead of us and (loudly) states, “That boy said he is not my friend...I think he just doesn’t know me.”
I expected Paul to kick the other kid in the shins or spout an angry retort. Instead my almost four-year-old sage saw beneath the playground taunting to the good in this other little boy, and in his own goodness and worth. “He just doesn’t know me.” If he knew me he would laugh at my jokes that make no sense; if he knew me he would cheer for me while I ran laps around the sandbox. If he knew me he would be as open to friendship with me as I am with him.
Today’s readings remind us how fervently God wants to befriend us, no matter how many times we taunt him with denial. God gives Noah the gift of the rainbow to remind him, “I know you and you know me.” In Baptism, we cannot deny that Jesus is literally willing to do anything for us. He is THAT friend. Like Paul on the playground, Jesus looks at our rejections each time and tries again in new ways.
The Gospel reminds us that as badly as Jesus appeals to befriend us, so too does Satan. Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days as time and time again Satan tried to win him over. The everyday moments where we choose to befriend either Satan or Jesus are usually more nuanced than navigating the crowds on the schoolyard.
Lent may feel like a lonely desert at times, but it is also a rainbow filled with promise and hope. We relive the storm clouds in order to feel the first warmth of sun on our face after the rain clears.
Is Jesus (or anyone else) inviting you to a new adventure today?