Where does one go after the first chapter of Genesis? For lack of a better plan of action, I moved over into the second and third chapters of Genesis. Why not?
Reading: Genesis 2, Genesis 3
Meditation: In reading these chapters, I noticed something I had glossed over before: "And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." Hmmm....Fine job that we did! And I do mean "we." Yes, Adam and Eve managed to get themselves thrown out of the garden, but there are people living in these areas today, especially the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. They are called Iraqis -- and Kurds and Sorranis -- and they are at war. Historically, there has been much fighting in this area, constantly destroying natural beauty, and now the US has launched its campaign against this area. Let's see -- the University of Baghdad more than 30% destroyed, national treasures stolen from museums, and historic landmarks gone forever. It seems that we are not keeping what God has given us very well, certainly not "dressing" it. Or, do we somehow think that this task involves only people from a bygone era. And what about generalizing this task? Does it not generalize to include our natural environment wherever we are. Perhaps George Bernard Shaw's words -- "Go where no one has gone before and leave a path" -- should not refer to the physical world but the metaphysical one. Perhaps the backpacker's motto -- "pack in, pack out" -- should refer to both physical and metaphysical worlds. We don't need to leave our psychological garbage strewn around any more than our physical garbage.
In Chapter 3, God is quoted as saying now that Man has eaten of the Tree of Knowledge (of good and bad), the Tree of Life should be put off limits and kept away from Man, lest he eat from that, too, and live forever. Oh, my! I think Mankind just lost a good deal of trust -- and we do not seem to have done much over the centuries to regain it. How many times have we turned away from God? Murdered his prophets and His Incarnation? Silenced those who would speak on His behalf? Tried to act like Gods -- judging others, making decisions with nary a thought as to what God would see as good, setting up our own ethical systems (some in contradiction to scripture)? If we had a chance to live forever by eating forbidden fruit, how many would do it? (I think the % of today's population answering "I would" would be quite high.)
There are apparently things that we are not supposed to know, as with the knowledge that came from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve, gaining that knowledge, changed their relationship with God for the worse. How many times do we receive bounty from God and stll ask why God gave it to us? Or, on the other hand, when something goes wrong, blame God, and demand to know why He did not intervene? Maybe we are not supposed to know because knowing, as in the case of Adam and Eve suddenly knowing good and evil, would further spoil a simple, trusting, loving relationship to God.
And that is far as I can go with you on this Monday morning. I will now retire to prayer (to ask forgiveness for all those times I fail to dress and keep the places and people God has put before me and all those times I have asked to know why when I really only needed to accept God's will, to beg for another chance to try not to fail, to give thanks for all the chances I have been given and all the love I have been given even when I have not deserved them/it, and to offer praise for the great kindness of God that forgives over and over and lets us try again and again and loves us forever and ever). And then I will spend some time in contemplation with this wonderful God, and will let you do the same.
If you pick this up as a weekly devotional activity, please share with me and others your own experiences in doing so. What words did you choose for meditation? What insights did you have? What have you been given to understand that would be appropriate to share and from which we might all benefit?
Have a good day and a good week!