Michael Gross CP September 2, 2018
In the day that the Lord[a] God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6 but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground,[b] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 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.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man[c] there was not found a helper as his partner. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,[d]
for out of Man[e] this one was taken.”
24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Have you ever felt an overwhelming sense of relief? Like on a really hot day and you have been working around the yard or house and you finally get it all done, and you can sit down with a cool drink in your hand. You kick off your shoes and exhale that breath of accomplishment. Sometimes in life we get so stressed that we forget to make room for the moments of satisfaction. We all get worked up about getting things done and the never ending to-do-list. We lose track of all the great things that are happening because of what we have done, or that maybe others are doing for us.
When we go out to eat and people bring us our meals that are prepared, and we didn’t have to cook them. Getting to choose something different than what the members of our family chooses sometimes is a wonderful treat. Maybe we get our laundry done, the yard mowed, or the weeds sprayed, all things that were done for us, so we didn’t have to. Yes, we pay for them, but the convenience of getting them done for us should result in more feelings of satisfaction. The pure joy of life is sometimes what we miss most because we don’t appreciate it. Sometimes we focus on the negative parts of our lives more than we should. We forget to seek the good in one another and celebrate the joys that God brings into our lives.
The story of Adam and Eve is an example of overlooking the good in life and focusing on the negative. Our artist for the day Sara Are has created this poster that reminds us of the Garden of Eden. Notice the plants and the bright colors. Flowers that are buds waiting to open and then full flowers like the sunflower in the corner. Plants with seeds to allow for new plants to grow. She has quoted vs. 23 “At last, this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” And she then added, “one human to another.” This amazing story is often overlooked when we think of Adam and Eve. We, being the negative seekers in life jump to the story of temptation and original sin. The story of eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge in which the serpent convinces Eve to do, claiming that God won’t really care. The she convinces Adam to do the same, then they see they are naked and afraid and hide from God because they have sinned against God.
Yet, we must not lose sight of the fact that before the fall and original sin, there was something really, really good about the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was the center of all things the water flowed from there and made the four major rivers of the Middle East. This area was known by many different peoples as the cradle of civilization until the remains of a humanoid were found in Africa and the debate still wages today as to how old and where did we come from. This is a story in Genesis that attempts to answer the question before scientific theory began. The purpose of this story is not to find facts, the purpose of this story is to begin to tell the narrative of God and God’s people.
God created the earth and everything that was in it according to the book of Genesis. In that creation God created plants and flowers. Food sources, animals, men and women were all created by God. The story for today tells us that in creating all things when God created Adam, which means man or first man, that he was all alone. So, God created the animals and brought them to Adam to be named by him, but no suitable helper was found. A suitable helper is important for us to look at for a moment. The text does not say someone to be in charge of, to lord over, to control as we so often time have tried to do in history between men and women. A helper was someone to share in Adam’s life. Not to cook for and clean for or to do the dishes and laundry, but someone as an equal in living together in harmony within the Garden of Eden.
God realized that in all that had been created a suitable helper was not yet made. One who was in the image of God, one who could understand the trails and temptations of this life, one to love and to hold could not be found. God made Adam fall into a deep sleep, removed a rib, and from there created the woman named Eve. God formed this woman just like Adam before, and now giving life to the woman by breathing into her, she was alive. When Adam woke up he saw this beautiful part of creation and said, “at last!” The joy, the glory, the relief, the feelings that words just can not describe the big AH! God had created someone that would be a part of him forever and the happiness could not be expressed in words, only in feelings, emotions of love and tenderness.
The artist Sara Are wrote, “What amazes me most about this story is Adam’s response. It would be so human of Adam to focus on their differences, to be hesitant in his welcome, or to act superior for being made first. However, instead of focusing on their differences, Adam immediately celebrates their connection. It’s as if Adam says, “At last! I have been waiting for someone to belong to, and even though we look different, we are made from the same God, so you and I, we belong together.” Can’t you just hear Adam’s sigh of relief? Can’t you imagine how deeply his heart must have ached in his own human isolation, and how quickly that must have changed at the sight of her face? I wonder just how different this world would be if we saw strangers and friends like Adam sees Eve. You the refugee, you the convict; you who is black or white, old or young, gay or straight—you are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. You and I, we belong together. May we never forget it.”
We should never forget how important we are to God. When we think of the creation we like to say what a cute story but then we dismiss it because we are enlightened people. So being enlightened I want you to think about this for a minute. Scientist point out with technology and the Hubble telescope that our sun is one of millions of suns in our galaxy called the Milky Way. Our galaxy is one of more than 150 billion galaxies! Yet God’s greatness is not the most awesome discovery. The most awesome part is that the God who created 150 billion galaxies cares about you and me. The God of this universe loves us with infinite love. Paul said in (Romans 5:8), “But God has shown us how much he loves us-while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. We, women and men, are created in God’s image and we are loved like none other in all of creation.
This weekend as we do celebrate Labor Day, I invite you to sit down, kick off your shoes, grab a cold beverage, taste it deeply, say AH! And know that at last, you are truly loved by God. Amen.