Sharing Our Faith Together

The Serpent’s Story

by Rev Jacky Quarmby 8 October 2021

Reading:  Genesis 2: 4 – Genesis 3: 7

Good morning.   Sid the serpent at your service.

I know - it’s a silly name, Sid, but it was given to me by that numbskull Adam.

God let him name all the animals. Why, I just can’t imagine - he is the most inadequate of species.

After all he can run … but not as fast as a cheetah.

He can sing … but not as sweetly as a bird.

He can swim … but not without gasping for breath.

He can’t fly, he can’t see in the dark, he can’t dislocate his jaw to eat big things. 

His big skill apparently, is that he can hold things … well, whoopee doo … huge demand for that in the Garden of Eden.

It seems to me, that the man was only created to make the rest of us animals look gifted and talented.  But the annoying thing is that God seems to have a soft spot for him.

Frankly the rest of us creatures are fed up with it.

First he got to name us all and now he insists on keep patting us and throwing things which he expects us to run after. We took to ignoring him in the hope that he would go away and leave us all in peace.  

But instead he went moaning to God about how he was so lonely and didn’t have a single friend he could talk to. 

So then God made him a friend – a woman called Eve.  Just as useless as the man to be honest, except she smells nicer and has better bone structure.  Anyway, they spent most of their time mooning around the garden, gazing into each other’s eyes and holding hands.  Uggh!

Truth is, Adam and Eve were spoiling the Garden of Eden.

So us animals got together and decided we would do something about it.

And I, being the cunning little serpent that I am, had an idea.

In the middle of the garden there is a tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  And none of us are allowed to eat the fruit of that tree.  And why would we – after all there are hundreds of beautiful trees in the garden.  It would be very stupid, wouldn’t it, to eat the fruit from the one tree that we’re not allowed. But you see, the man and the woman are stupid.  I saw this early on.  And at the heart of their stupidity is the belief that they can do anything …

You know, a cheetah can run like the wind, but knows it can’t swim in the oceans.

An eagle can soar high up in the sky, but knows it can’t burrow underground.

I can dislocate my jaw and eat a fruit twice the size of my head, but I know I’ll never win X-factor for my singing.

We animals know what we do best and we know our limitations.

So we do what God has created us to do – and we do it well.

But humans, they do not know their limitations.  They believe they can do all things. They don’t see themselves as creatures, but as creators - yes, they believe themselves to be gods.  

So one day – I slithered up to Eve, and I dropped a thought into her empty little head. 

“You know that tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – you know why God doesn’t want you to eat its fruit don’t you?  It is because if you eat it then you will know as much as God – and you will know the difference between good and evil.”  Well, I saw her eyes light up at that - to know all that God knows – how great would that be? And off she went to find Adam.

You know, I just wanted to get them chucked out of the garden – so that we wouldn’t have to put up with their patronizing, “here kitty, kitty” or their canoodling in bushes.  

But it didn’t work out like that.  When Adam and Eve ate the fruit - that was the end of the Garden of Eden – for all of us. 

Adam and Eve were not the same.  They lost their childlike love of life – their innocent belief that all was right with the world.  They became suspicious of each other, afraid of God, contemptuous of other creatures.  And in the end, they left the garden – we all left the garden.

Knowledge, you see, is a dangerous thing.  It has to be handled with wisdom and with humility.  For knowledge can heal or destroy.  One day, no doubt, humans will even argue that it is right to destroy in order to heal.  But I’m just Sid the serpent, so what do I know?

Music:  Be thou my vision

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Let us pray,

Loving God, we thank you for all the advances in knowledge and understanding that have been made in recent years.  We thank you for vaccinations, for treatments for life-threatening illnesses, for technology which helps us to communicate more easily, for safe transport which enables us to travel and see the world. But loving God, advances in knowledge bring ethical problems.  In the clamour of conflicting interests, help us to be wise – and to always consider the rights of the voiceless and the most vulnerable – as we make difficult decisions. For we ask this in Jesus name,  Amen