The Eden Within
God on Monday
And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’ (Genesis 2:16-17)
Generations of human beings have longed for a return to Eden. This has been perceived as a state of safety, comfort, and care; a place where the human and the divine live in beautiful harmony. Consciously or not, humans are constantly seeking a way back to that garden. This helps explain why human consciousness is characterized not only by hope but also by a sense of grief, loss, and disappointment.
All this shapes our spiritual experience and language, at no time more so than during Lent. This is a season in which we are drawn forward through the suffering and alienation of Holy Week with the anticipation and hope of Easter. These twin themes go right back to the Eden story itself. For there we catch a glimpse of the suffering and redemption to come in God’s making of garments to cover human nakedness, and in God’s words to the serpent:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel (Gen 3.15).
The Garden of Gethsemane and the Garden Tomb are both foreshadowed in the Garden of Eden. The poetry and word pictures of the writer of Genesis convey deep truth.
We can enter that truth this Lent as we allow God to transform within us the spoiled fruit of Eden into the everlasting fruit of the Spirit. This goes to the heart of sanctification – the process of becoming holy. It is not our work but God’s work within us. As the original gardener, God is at work in the Eden that is within our hearts and seeks our cooperation.
Let the God of suffering and redemption take your struggles and your hopes and nurture within you the fine fruit of the Spirit.
Take a moment to place your hand on your chest, signifying grief or struggle in your life. Then pray the prayer below.
Inhale: The weight I feel in this world is too great.
Exhale: Lord, prove your nearness to me in my anxiety and grief.
Inhale: My soul and body long for rest.
Exhale: God, fill me with the confidence of my salvation.
Listen to episode #8 of this podcast
, which discusses the topic of constantly renewing our faith.
Dr Lauren Pinkston
This Week's Author
, President, Kindred Exchange
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.
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