6 Mama Mia

This morning I was reminded of the drunkenness of sleep. Of when the body is mesmerized by dreams and comfort and darkness, and is reluctant to accept any other reality. Only those who have tasted the honey of God’s presence want to abandon the dark comforts of this world in order to wake up.

I love Eve for the heavy burden of sorrow she carries because her naïve curiosity thrust mankind into oblivion. Without wisdom, or experience of death how could she have resisted temptation? I also love her for her determination to follow Christ back to her birthplace.

This is no ordinary journey; this is no ordinary Lent. 

Eve appeared melancholy this morning. “Tell me what it’s like to have a mother?” she asked.

It suddenly dawned on me that Adam and Eve are the only humans who never had a mother, not even a kind step mother, not even a bitter bio-mom. God was both Mother and Father to these original persons that He created in His awesome image and likeness. No wonder Eve’s curious quest for wisdom, no wonder God’s tender but strict response.

I answered, “Eve, I can’t tell you what’s it’s like to have a mother because each person is unique and so every mother/child relationship can be different, but genetically the umbilical cord cannot be severed. I think that the subconscious memory of oneness is never erased. Even if a person lives five hundred years morsels of his heart hold the memory of unity with another soul. Life’s basic quest to bond is not an adventure but rather a restoration of the primal condition. This is something you never experienced; this explains to me why you are so determined to rejoin God by whose Will you were born.”  

It occurred to me that my words saddened her more, so I added, “Eve, I shouldn’t go on. I am sorry that you never had a mother, but of course it had to be that way.”

Changing course I continued, “Many people have never known their mothers, or knew them only for a short time. Sometimes they grow to mother others and vicariously enjoy being mothered. Look at how you cared for Cain and Abel, and little Seth.” Immediately I wanted to take back my words.

“You’re right. I loved my boys. Was it wisdom I found when my son murdered his brother?” with that memory Eve collapsed. She didn’t cry; she just appeared exhausted.

 “Eve!” I shouted, “Don’t eat evil! Trust God who received Abel’s sacrifice before he died. You wanted wisdom. Pain and suffering are its key ingredients.”

I truly felt sorry for Eve, first the separation from God, then her son Abel shows her what God’s death-warning meant. How she suffered. Unhappy with the plummeting direction of this conversation, I had to refocus Eve or we would never wake up to Eden, “I have good news!”

“What?” She cried, looking for relief!

“Eve, you do have a mother who cares for you.”

“Was I adopted?” She laughed at the absurdity of a mature woman being adopted.

“Remember when you saw Jesus?”

“Yes, He shined like the sun in my heart. He was God incarnate.” Eve glowed in the warmth of this joyful memory.

“Right! Then as God incarnate He represented your Father in the flesh, right?”

 “I suppose so.” She said wondering where I could possibly be going with this.

 “Christ has a Bride, the Church! She is your mother and mine too! Her baptisms are births of children like you who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God! She is beautiful; She teaches and nurtures; She can even heal your wounded heart.”

Eve cheered up. “Explain?”

“The Church is the Bride of Christ, our True God. Like Christ she is human and divine. Eve, she is my mother too. Our mother knows of our quest. She will help us wake up in Eden. Come, let’s go to Her whose doors are opened wide during Lent.”

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.