15. Echoes from Eden

After Eve went back to find Adam and tell him about her adventure I stayed at the scene of the luminous resurrection long enough for the ladies to show up so I could see the shocked expressions on their faces. The fear-to-joy transition was never so magnificent and never would be again.  What a grin it glued onto my face.

I promised Eve that I would wait for her return. Meanwhile, I had to figure out how to stay in Eden, but force milennia to pass-by in a flash, so I could return to my sacred technology.   

I  remembered that when we finally found Eden I came to understand that it is the place on this earth where God and His children meet. It is the garden where He always intended us to live in obedience and trust until that awesome day when this earth gives way to the new earth inhabited only by God’s sons and daughters, where Satan’s folly is no more. The whole idea of creating a planet and animating it with chosen people with golden hearts is brilliant but requires so much patience and planning that I am sure that only God could have thought of it and could make it happen. Who else has the time?

Until that glorious day we get Eden: this old earthly place where we who are born by the will of God can hear Him speak. The difference between Eden and Milwaukee is that in Milwaukee people talk to God day and night, talk-talk-talk. They rarely even take a breath to hear Him answer. But in Eden, the obedient ones who manage to fast from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or when they do, who grab the antidote: the tree of life, made accessible at the crucifixion, can actually hear God speak to us, if we will only listen.

Lilies laugh louder than nasturtiums.

If you knew that then you too might be in Eden.

Happy Mother’s Day Eve wherever you are. Please come home.

16. Hear God Speak

I managed to land back in the 21st century, but then I had to make sure I was in Eden.

As I looked around I saw a young couple walking toward me hand in hand. The closer they got, the surer I was that it was my precious Eve and her husband Adam. Eve had never looked so young and so beautiful; I had never seen Adam.

“I’m back!” she said and dropped Adam’s hand to hug me. “This is Adam!”

Adam reminded me of Michelangelo’s David. It was breathtaking to be in his presence, a perfectly formed man. I wanted to believe that he was as perfect in his heart as he was in form. I never thought too highly of Adam when I read of how he caved to Eve’s request right away and without compunction, and how he blamed her immediately when caught. I wanted to punch him right then and there.

In the midst of these unsettled thoughts I tried to be polite, smiled and shook his hand.

“Look, I’m sorry I blamed Eve.” He said. As Eve could read my mind apparently so could Adam. “Don’t you think I’ve regretted eating that fruit too; will I never live this down?”

I tried to get over my embarrassment as I vaguely heard him go on. “Have you ever wondered what would have happened if she ate it and I didn’t? Have you ever wondered if God expected us to eat the fruit? Why did He plant that tree right smack in the middle of the Garden?”

“I’m sorry too Adam. Please let’s move on. We’ll ask God when the time is right. For now, the past doesn’t matter.” Then I turned to Eve and said, “Eve, I just arrived and I am not sure that I’m still in Eden.”

“Well, has God spoken to you yet?” she replied.

“I think He said that ‘Lilies laugh louder than nasturtiums.’ What a funny thing to say. I can’t help but laugh and wonder if it’s true.”

“Oh, it’s true alright. That lily family! What a cacophony they make, Easter lilies, tiger lilies, lilies of the valley, it’s a chorus of laughter when they come together.” She said all cheery.

Then I brought her right back down by adding, “How do I know when God speaks to me?”

Eve looked as though she felt sorry for me, or as if I was a two year old she had to teach to speak when she replied, “You can just tell, silly! Let me think. You know it is God is speaking when He says something that you just know you wouldn’t say. Sometimes He speaks through your conscience, sometimes through circumstances or through others, or through the Bible. God talks a lot. Here, read this:”

"He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." John 8:47 NKJV  I cringed and she read on. "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. John 10:26-28 NKJV.

“Eve, I think I just heard God say He loves me, could that be Him?”

17. My Problem with Sin

 Eve hugged me and said, “Of course that was God speaking to you. He loves you and He wants you to know.”

I replied, “Doesn’t God love everyone? Or don’t you think I was only thinking something that I want to be true?”

Our relationship changed. When I first me Eve, before Easter, she was a young lady yearning to go home. She needed my help. She seemed lost and afraid, and needy. But after being brought back into Eden by Christ, into the presence of God her Father, Eve exuded an aura of confidence, full of love and grace. She was my mother; at least I wanted her to be. Certainly eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had given Eve wisdom. I didn’t know how long Eve would spend with me so I wanted to make the most of every minute to question her. But as any good mother she wanted me to learn on my own.

“You don’t have to go through me. God will teach you all you want to know. You are His child, go to Him for your lessons. If you do well, will He not accept you and if you don’t do well, sin is lurking at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

“There see!” I exclaimed, “I don’t understand that! That’s what God told your son Cain before he killed his brother.”

Eve looked at me and then over to Adam with a nod. Adam reached for my hand and peered into my eyes as Eve had so many times before and said, “What don’t you understand?”

“I don’t understand what sin is. Is it missing the mark of God-likeness or is it an alien predator, something outside of me lurking at my door to hurt me?  What is this enemy waiting to pounce on me when I don’t do well? I suppose Cain let it in when he killed his brother. Even then, God said He would protect Cain from being killed by others even after he left the presence of the Lord.” Adam and Eve patiently listened as I continued.

“In church on Good Friday I stood next to a man who I hadn’t seen there in years. I knew him to be quick-tempered with a foul mouth. I was surprised to see him in church. As I stood there a powerful feeling came over me that God was happy to see the man beside me, that he was loved and received more than I was. He was the prodigal son. Words can’t describe the power of that feeling. It shocked me, but I basked in its warm envelope of love, even though it was for my neighbor and not for me. It was for that maniac!”

Eve said, “See, God spoke to you with that feeling!”

Then Adam added, “God told Cain that sin is a three step process, 1) don’t do well, 2) recognize sin, and 3) master it…or not.  Cain’s jealous thoughts were not yet sin. He could have mastered that, but he didn’t. God didn’t love Cain less after he sinned, and he didn’t love your neighbor less. Someday the judgment will come, but until then God is patient and tolerant. Love covers a multitude of sins. Becoming like Christ by obeying His commands is the only sure-fire way to avoid sin. Do you understand?”

“No,” I responded meekly hoping Adam didn’t hear me.