Genesis 3:1-13, 22-24 (NRSV)
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?" 2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8 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. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." 13 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." 22 Then the LORD God said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.
Michael R. Nichols in his book, Finding your own Lake Wobegon, tells the story of driving home to see his mother and passing a church sign that read, “If you’re done with sin, come on in.” As he got closer to the sign, he found that someone had written in lipstick, “But if you’re not quite through, call 272-0200.”
All of us have what someone has called, “A curvature of the soul.” You may recall that Jesus stepped in to save the woman caught in adultery. The mob was determined to stone her to death. Jesus was able to disburse the angry mob by pointing out that they were all sinners, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” He told them.
He then gave the woman a directive, “Go and sin no more.” The woman’s life circumstance, situation, and possibly desperation had driven her to a terrible place. Jesus obviously knew that the chances of her, “sinning no more,” were close to nil. Yet, Jesus called her to be her best self, to straighten out her curved soul.
We all suffer from a curvature of the soul. The Gospel story tells us that Easter makes this curvature condition curable. As God walks through the garden of our lives asking, “Why are you hiding from me,” may we make the choice to come out and seek God’s forgiveness offered without price. It is the gift of the resurrected Christ. We may not be through with sin yet, but because of Christ, we can step out of our hiding places and ask for help. As the Psalmist reminds us, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8). Think about it.
Please join us for our new Preaching and Teaching series based on J. Ellsworth Kalas's book, Easter from the Backside.
2/11/2018 - Why we Need Easter
2/18/2018 - Easter From an Ash Heap
2/25/2018 - Easter for the Disillusioned
3/4/2018 - Ezekiel Celebrates Easter
3/11/2018 - Easter is a Love Story
3/18/2018 - Late for Easter
3/25/2018 - Chancel Choir Easter Music at the 8:30 and 11 Traditional services. Rev. Clark Chilton preaching at the 9:45 Praise Service.
4/1/2018 - Forever Easter