I was sitting in front of the fireplace the other day, staring into the red-yellow flames, and drifted-off into thought about what life in the Garden of Eden might have been like.
I imagine it as beautiful and lush with every kind of vegetation; fruit-bearing trees and plants, herbs and spices. The animals are peaceful and happy. Humans are safe and at peace with themselves and their Creator.
They never get sick and they fear no injury. The work of taking care of the garden is not like work at all, but more like partnership with all of creation.
How incredibly relaxing to imagine, yet difficult to understand fully. All I have ever known in my life was work and schedules with short moments of recreation or, me time.
Not that I have worked any harder than anyone else, the Lord knows there are many harder-working people than myself. But schedules and deadlines, that is what I imagine missing from the Garden of Eden experience.
To be at-one and at peace with oneself, all of creation, and the Creator, that is something difficult to fully imagine.
In our imperfect human situation, we seem to create little Gardens of Eden of our own; places to escape our everyday routines, schedules, and deadlines. Hence the advent of man caves and she sheds. My man cave is filled with guitars and music stuff.
We create spaces that express much of who we are, and what makes us feel at peace and at-one with the universe. However, those temporary times of escape are just that; temporary. We must eventually leave our Eden and return to the world of clocks, calendars, schedules, deadlines, and all that they demand. Sometimes that can be a bit disheartening.
When we practice being Kingdom focused, that is, centering our daily activities on the will of God for our life, we can rest confident that we will find that place where we are fully at peace and at-one with God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We can see the value of clocks, calendars, schedules, and deadlines in the light of what God is doing in our lives and around us. We can make the most of the relatively limited time we have. We can become better at what we do personally and secularly.
I believe the sin of Adam and Eve was turning their attention on themselves and taking their attention away from God and at-oneness with all of creation. By focusing on self, we push God out, and eventually push everyone and everything else out, leaving only room for self.
That is ultimately spiritual death. Instead, let us proclaim: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Good Life to you!
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at noon on Thursdays and at 5 p.m. on Saturdays.