The creation story answers some basic question about our relationship with God. The best astrophysicist researchers never deal with the “why” questions that are core building blocks of our faith foundation. The Genesis stories describe why God creates and gives purpose founded in a relationship of love, an interdependent relationship with all people, the earth and God’s self.
Life in the garden, revealed in Genesis was both complex and yet simple. One rule guided the relationship: trust God in all things, and express that trust by staying away from the tree in the middle of the garden. It was complex system of seasons, plants and animals, including a talking snake.
I always wondered with the tree was not hidden in the corner. If you put the no-no tree in the middle where you have to pass it on the way to everything, it feels like a constant taunting test. The struggles under girding this story are the competing forces at work in our relationship with God. God places the tree in the middle because it shapes our relationship of choice. It is a constant reminder that our love and trust of God competes with our ignoring and rebelling from God.
Keep in mind, the good garden has both room to walk and talk with God and hiding places to meet a talking snake that twists God’s word. When we forget to learn from the past and disregard the present plays in our future, we attempt to fool God and ourselves. It is in the reality of this moment, the present that we constantly choose to follow or reject God’s love. It is not a once-and-you-are-done mental decision, rather it is the groaning labor of constant labor that our relationship lives or dies on the vine.
The text is a snapshot of the moments that follow crossing that line. The result of not reciprocating God’s faithfulness with ours is separation. It is in this distance that we choose to fill the gap or allow God to restore us into wholeness. The Good News is that God is ready to heal and show us loving-grace. This mercy is God’s response act of compassion that we need, when and where we most need it.
No matter how far we are from God in our lives, God stands in the road waiting to welcome prodigal daughter and sons home. So let’s push folks away, let us model God’s grace and welcome a hurting world into our faith home. Because naked, ashamed and filled with blame is no life at all. Our loving God is ready to clothe, forgive and welcome us to the table.
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” [Genesis 3:8-15 NRSV]