Longtime readers of the blog are aware that for several years, the college where I work has sponsored a series of Advent devotional messages, written by members of the campus community. I usually contribute a couple each year.
Well, this is the second year that the college has decided to create a series of devotions for Lent as well. I’m contributing two of those as well, and my first one was for today. As with the Advent pieces, we’re assigned a passage of Scripture for our particular day. We write a short reflection, and offer a prayer. So here it is for today; I hope it proves useful.
Genesis 3:20-24 King James Version (KJV)
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
If you’re of a certain age, you’re probably familiar with the song “Woodstock”, which Joni Mitchell wrote and Crosby, Stills and Nash made famous. The chorus called that generation to action: “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” But long before that, our artists, thinkers and dreamers have sought to recover that great good place, the world for which our hearts know they were made. And for all that time, we’ve seen that our own efforts – even our best efforts – are not enough to find our way back there. The world without death is beyond the reach of our earthly knowledge, and the way there is blocked, whether by an angel’s flaming sword or by our own natures.
Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on that earthly knowledge, thanks to the mercy of God. The Incarnation of God as Christ became the Way by which we can one day regain what we lost through our own actions. During Lent, we consider how Christ was willing to step into the finite world with all its shortcomings and needs, and how His suffering took place so that someday, we might not only return to the Garden, but to somewhere and some when better still.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the world you gave us. And thank You because when we showed ourselves unable to accept and live in that perfection, You brought Your perfection to us, and gave us a pathway home. In the name of Your Son, amen.