The Garden of Eden
In the beginning it was not about where two or three gather together in my name. Nor was it about being saved from sin. There was no church building. No rocks on which anything could be built (that are mentioned). There was no need for buildings even though it seems there was enough moisture to grow a Garden verdant and green, that supported life in a multitude of animals – no need for utensils to turn raw ingredients into three daily meals …
In fact, The Garden had nothing that was practical for the Chosen Couple.
Naturism without shame, an ambient temperature day and night to make unnecessary a nice blanket and pillow and mattress – some walls and windows and doors – maybe a table and chairs – perhaps even a plate and cup – a pot or a pan – and deffo no Netflix or Prime – no news fake or real – no hierarchy – no nothing at all. That was The Garden we all yearn to have again.
And which lockdown brings closer than ever before.
And yet see the seething. The seething real and spiritual. The “we” fast-becoming “me”. The pushback against The Law (when it’s not to “my” liking). The domestic abuse calls for help on the increase. The mental health issues and concern on the increase. The speculation that “normal illness” is not being reported as it should. The weirdness of seeing “wildlife” walking the space our lockdown has left them to explore again. The worry about our lack of touch, our absence of closeness, our need for breathing the same air, for sharing the same gardens and bbqs, for being in the same space because we were not designed for this isolated living.
And yet we yearn for The Garden.
A place without any of the stuff we are missing so badly. A place without church. Without liturgy. Without communion bread and wine. Without prayer and praise and preaching or teaching. Without even The Bible itself.
Yet see the seething. The need to pray and praise and preach and teach. The need to get forgiven, to study the bible, to fellowship, to outreach. The need to find and learn and do new ministry and reach those who never set foot in The Building but who are now “accessing” and “engaging” virtual church services (beamed through the plastic electronic hi-tech of HD screens and super-fast processors with woofer-boofer sexy-speakers) – all so far away from The Garden as to make The Serpent look whimsical!
We yearn for The Garden as we do for The Good Old Days.
I think we yearn for comfort and safety and routine and predictability. I think we yearn for social standing and belonging. I think we confuse what we want with what we are invited to become. An invitation to strip ourselves naked of all that is not The Garden. All the self-created riches we now have to protect and defend.
The riches of correctness. The riches of studying the bible. The riches of being forgiven. The riches of a nice soothing comforting service. The riches of having prayed properly, worshipped properly, lived properly, behaved properly for all to see.
I wonder if we cannot be near to be God by ourselves.
So instead we created blame … the tree, the serpent and Eve and Adam. We created sin. We created both sin and the need to be forgiven from sin. And all the rest that must of necessity follow.. Because The Garden – which is not only of God, but the example “we” give of being the most pure example of being close to God – had none of that or this.
Yet – as mentioned yesterday – we are contrary.
I saw a report that our obsession with “apps” has allowed Fitbit to suggest we are doing okay. Resting heartrates are down. Sleep is up. Step-counts are down. But physical activity is up.
And then the “contrary” comment added by the writer – that maybe it is hiding increased chocolate and alcohol consumption – that we may have a hidden timebomb of obesity and dependency yet to come!
The Beatles told us that all we need is love. The bible does too.
Yet we seem unable to rest. We have to create reason to NOT make that enough. To make love “transactional”. To make the bible “complicated”. To make church the building “necessary” (as commanded). Especially now.
Yay for us good believers!
The greatest of these is.
And I really do believe that is all we need.