They sinned and God evicted them. That was the gist of the story in Chapter 3 of Genesis, as filed away in some distant corner of my mind. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and He condemned them to a hard life, a life they passed on to us all. Because of what they did, God cursed those first humans. He rejected them back. Oh yes, and I recognized the last words of the curse: “For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.” Wasn’t that the story? Not exactly. I had forgotten some crucial points. I had never noticed others.
After that first sin, what happened? The Lord God moved about in the garden, looking for them, calling out to them. I hadn’t realized that He wasn’t a voice, thundering from the distance. He was right there with the first man and woman when they had their first real human insight: they began to understand that they were utterly dependent on God.
And after the dismissal, what happened? Did an angry, vengeful God turn His back on them? Hardly. Instead (and I had never noticed this before!), the Lord God made leather garments, with which He clothed them, and He settled them east of the Garden of Eden. He helped them move!
The loving care of God is mirrored in the other reading, the beginning of Chapter 8 of Mark’s gospel. A large crowd had been with Jesus for three days, and they were out of food. Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for the crowd (I see that his pity was not limited to those in the crowd who had come to believe in Him) and he fed them. Just as His Father would have!
Today’s readings, told and retold, committed to writing, copied and recopied, tell us something about human beings and what it means to be human, something about God and what it means to be God. They bring us two views of God-with-us: God the loving Parent, God the caring Brother.
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