The following is a monologue sermon I preached as Satan at Clackamas United Church of Christ, near Portland, Oregon. The text was Genesis 3:8-15 and Mark 3:20-30. You can watch the video or read the text below.
Hello, my minions!
You are my minions, aren’t you? Well, some of you might be.
But I came here today to introduce myself to you so that you could make your own decision. Because I I am very present in your world. And you may have noticed that I have been especially active during the last year and a half!
You know me as Satan. And that’s a good name for you to know me as. You may also know me as the Tempter. And that’s okay. You may know me as the Adversary. And that works, too. But the word Satan really means the Accuser.
I am the Accuser! I am the principle of accusation. And I have been present throughout your whole history. I was there at the very beginning. I entered into that serpent and I went to Adam and Eve and I tempted them into accusing one another.
You see, God made this beautiful garden. And in that garden, God put all kinds of trees with wonderful fruit. And God said to Adam and Eve, “You can have all of the fruit that you want, except for one. You may not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
And do you know what? Adam and Eve didn’t want to have anything to do with that tree until I showed up! I entered into that serpent and I said to Eve,
“Look at that tree! Isn’t it beautiful?”
And she said, “Yeah. It is kind of beautiful.”
And I responded, “Just look at that fruit. Oh, it’s so juicy!”
She said, “Yeah, That is some juicy looking fruit!”
And then I said to her, “You know, Eve, the only reason that God doesn’t want you to eat of this fruit is because God wants to keep the knowledge of good and evil away from you and keep it for himself! God is so selfish!”
That’s how I planted this seed of rivalry between Eve and God. And Eve thought to herself, “It does look like delicious fruit. And what’s wrong with knowing the difference between good and evil?” And she ate the fruit.
Then she took the fruit and went up to her husband Adam. She said to him, “This is the fruit from that tree. And it tastes really good! Why don’t you eat it?”
And like every Adam since, he said to his wife, “Okay.”
And that is when I had them. And I have had you ever since!
What is wrong with knowing good from evil? I’ll tell you! Once you consume that fruit you become consumed by that fruit! You become consumed by dividing the world into good and evil. And do you know who is always good? You are! And do you know who is always evil? They are!
This is how I enter into your world and structure your world. And you fall for it every time! Throughout the history of the human race you and I have been dividing the world into good and evil!
Did you ever notice what happened after Adam and Eve ate the fruit? God came to Adam and God said, “Where are you?” And Adam replied, “I was afraid of you, so I ran and I hid.”
That made me so happy. There’s this saying that you may have heard. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” That’s how I want you to feel! I want you to be afraid of the Lord. I want you to live your life in fear that God is against you! That’s what I want! Because God’s not against you. That’s a lie that I planted into your minds.
God came to Adam and Eve not to accuse them. That’s my job! God came to Adam and Eve because their relationship was broken and God wanted to fix it.
So God came to them and asked, “Who told you to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?”
And Adam replied, “The women, whom you God created, she made me eat the fruit.”
That was my proudest moment. Because that accusation built a wall between all people. You no longer trust one another. And it built a wall between you and God.
Ever since this moment when Adam accuses God, you have never really been able to trust God. Oh sure, your pastor might say, “God loves you. God’s love is unconditional.” But you don’t believe it. Your pastor believes it maybe a quarter of the time. Because your world, the world that I structure, isn’t based on unconditional love. It’s based on accusation.
Here’s what I tell you. You are not good enough. You are not successful enough. You are not pretty enough. Those messages come from me. And you can’t handle it. You can’t handle the pain of those messages, so I have you project those messages onto one another. You project my accusations of not being good enough upon one another.
And when you start accusing one another you are living under the principle of satan.
This is how I work. And I was working quite nicely until he came along.
He came along, and I tried to tempt him in the desert. But he refused to follow me. And then I came to him through the scribes. And the scribes said, “Jesus is healing. And he’s preaching the Kingdom of God, and he’s doing through the power of Satan!”
How could healing people be seen as my power, as the power of Satan? Well, Jesus was upending the whole system of accusation. Jesus stopped the accusations against those who were marginalized and suffering. Jesus claimed that God loves and cares for all people, including those on the margins. Including those who are suffering. Including those who are accused as being sinners by the religious establishment.
But you see, the people in power want the status quo. They want a world structured by my spritit of accusation. Because as long as they held the power of accusation, they were in control.
And so they went to Jesus and demanded that he stop, because they liked the way the world as it was. Jesus stopped the spirit of accusation, but those in authority were addicted to its power.
You see, the scribes were consumed with the knowledge of good and evil. But Jesus offered another way.
On the night before he was killed, Jesus had his disciples in an upper room. And he said, “Take, eat. This is my body. This is my blood given for you. Consume this.”
When you consume the Bread of Life and the Cup of Blessing during communion, you are not consuming the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. You are consuming the fruit from the Tree of Life. You are consuming fruit from the Tree of God’s Love. You are consuming from the Tree of God’s Forgiveness.
Jesus told a parable about entering into a strong man’s house and tying him up. I am the strong man! And Jesus entered into my house! He tied me up and stole what belonged to me!
You may wonder how Jesus defeated me. It wasn’t through a more powerful accusation, for that would have just made me stronger! No. Jesus defeated me through forgiveness. Through love. Oh, yes. I worked through some of the scribes and Pharisees, the king and the emperor, to hang Jesus up on the cross and kill him. But on the cross he defeated me. On that tree is where you find the fruit of love. For Jesus responded not with accusation and prayers of revenge, but by prying for forgiveness. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
This journey that you are on gives you a choice. You can become my minions. Or you can become his disciples. Me or him. Accusation or love. Those are the choices that I leave you with. I hope that you choose wisely.