5 The Little Problem of Evil

Eve and I are still in the sleep state to Eden. Waking up every morning in the world is inevitable, but waking up to Eden is not. To wake up from this dream God needs to shake us, and maybe even pour water on our faces.

In this dream state evil is rampant. People hurt each other; there is painful poverty and frightening disease. Natural disasters shock and horrify us. You know that, but what you may not know is that evil in every form is nothing more than the effect of separation from God who is Good, the only Good. Even Jesus didn’t want people to call Him good, because He said that only His Father in heaven is Good. 

Most of us are pretty comfortable living apart from God, even in church, even when we read books and blogs about Him. We don’t even know what it means to live apart from God, because we don’t know what it is like to be with Him. We have never experienced that and so we breathe in this world surrounded by evil and cry, complain, and criticize. Evil enters our hearts when we do that, because we are eating the knowledge of its fruit, and we sink further into sleep.

Eve knows the difference between living with God and living apart from Him. That’s why I want to stay close to her. I hear her weeping quietly, “Eve, what’s wrong?”

“I want to go back to be with God again so badly it hurts sometimes. Don’t worry, I’ll be okay.”

It was then that it occurred to me to wake up by concentrating on how much I love Him.  The spirit-muscle that starts to bulge from the exercise of fasting, and obeying the commands just might come in handy to combat evil thoughts and even thoughts about evil.  See evil, and run, or ignore it, or use your life-force to rub it out. But to be with God, never eat the fruit of the knowledge of evil. It is poison.

Remember those little monkeys, See-no-Evil, Hear-no-Evil, and Speak-no-Evil. I’ll bet they wake up in Eden before we do!

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.”

8 Inside Out

“Oh Eve, look at the calendar, Lent is almost over, do you think we’ll make it?”

“I hope so! I’m so excited I can hardly breathe!”

Indeed Eve’s cheeks were rosy and her blue eyes sparkled as I had never seen them sparkle before. Her joy infused my own heart. As someone who had never been to Eden, never even conceived of being able to visit the sacred Garden I too was elated over the imminent homecoming. It would have been impossible, flying pig impossible, to travel this wake-up Lenten journey alone.

“Eve, do you feel yourself waking up?” I asked.

“Like a spring breeze Lent has blown through every room of me looking for life,” she replied enigmatically “and found only buds of it.”   

While I was trying to make the connection between waking up, life, and rooms Eve added: “Let’s see for ourselves, shall we?”

I did not say a word, hoping that Eve would start to make sense.

She nearly reminded me of the fairy godmothers in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. “First let’s check the dining room where we have been eating as in Eden. Our entourage has been so good, never minding a bit that they left the world. Have you hungered much?”

Deciding to play along, I responded, “Not enough. Next week I hope to hunger more. For its limitations Eden was also abundant.”

She went on, “Oh how we have relished the time spent in our library with the immortals! When we see them again we’ll have so much to talk about! Look at this tower, so many books, so little time.” 

Starting to get it I was ready to contribute, “Is the family room ready; look at the children, puppies and friends all talking and sharing cares and experiences?  I think the family room of us is fully alive, right?”

Eve was quick to say it needed work and continued. “As for the bathroom, have we adequately cared for the outside of our fleshy-temples to clean and beautify them?”

“Of course!” I whacked and volleyed with, “and the exercise room too! The inside of the cup:  heart, lungs, and muscles are all ready for Eden.” I began to understand what Eve was doing. The house appropriates the life it is designed for and unites with its inhabitants. A house in right standing with God is a person fully alive. Each room represents an aspect of the holistic life.

Correcting me Eve said, “Wrong! The inside of the cup is the soul which is the umbilical cord to God. That has no room of its own because it is the life force of every room. Now let’s check on the most complex room.” Eve went on. “A good way to know if we can awaken in Eden is to inspect the office, our connection with the world.”

Heading for the office I started to cringe and tighten up. Reading my mind Eve said, “Jesus had more demands on Him than you. Don’t fret He became frustrated too, but let’s work on this room, okay?”

“Eve, can we go to the bedroom now? I am feeling very sleepy and I have a lot of housekeeping to do tomorrow.”

“Of course dearie. Sweet dreams, sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

I wish she hadn’t said that!

9 Hosanna Warm-up

"" Shhh come here and watch this. I scurried over to where Eve was crouching behind a rock watching a man untie a colt from the tree. I crouched behind Eve. It looked as if the colt was being stolen because a couple of other men approached and there was some discussion apparently about the animal.

Maybe not, because they took the colt after all.

“You must see this.” she said.

Was I asleep or awake? If I was awake, where was I?

Reading my mind Eve told me that I was both asleep and awake. We were still waiting to wake up in Eden, but before that our entourage (that includes you, the reader) was being given a chance to see Jesus so He could show us how He made Eve realize that it was possible to return to Eden.

Gen 2:4“In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 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; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the earth-then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there He put the man whom He had formed. 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.

2:15Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘you may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 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.’

“Look, here He comes.” Exclaimed Eve pointing to Jesus walking before our very eyes!

Sure enough, there was the real live Jesus Christ, riding bareback on a colt.

 Stunned, and with my eyes riveted on the Christ, I managed to ask, “Eve have we gone back in time? Does this mean that when we wake up in Eden we will have gone back to the beginning of the world? I didn’t think that was the deal? I like the 21st century quite a lot. I like my country and some of the other ones, and cell phones and computers and bathrooms and refrigeration and aircon…”

“Calm down!” she interjected before I jumped over the edge. “Listen to me. Relax, time is relative. It is an element that God works with much like we work with clay. We can still be in the 21st century when we visit Eden, but the way there is without Time as you thought you knew it. You will understand this later. The only way we can be in Eden is the way Jesus Christ was in Eden when I saw Him. Today we will watch how Jesus could be in Eden in His own time period. This will help us to be in Eden in the 21st century—with cell phones! Okay?!”

Eve continued, “Today is the day that Jesus goes to Jerusalem as a king and victor. Well, not exactly because He refused the accoutrements of an earthly king, but today He receives the praise of the people.

I want you to see Jesus walk right up to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and not even take a bite!

It’s not just the knowledge of evil that we should eschew, who wouldn’t want that? In fact everyone wants paradise because there is no evil there. But the knowledge of Good is equally poisonous, and Christ knows this better than anyone.   

Today Jesus is practicing not eating the knowledge of Good, to help Him not eat the knowledge of evil when the time comes. This is an important day. Learning how to avoid eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be essential for us when we wake up in Eden. If we can see the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then the tree of life cannot be far.

Now let’s  be quiet and watch the people treat Jesus like a rock star!”

14 Easter/Pascha

Eve and I woke-up simultaneously in utter darkness. I mean we really woke up! I know that all this time Eve said our Lenten journey was to be an awakening rather than a trek through space or even time, but I didn’t quite understand what she meant until today. When a person wakes up from the sleep state (s)he is suddenly in a place that is quite different from wherever the dream took him or her. In the last few days we had seen glimpses of Eden, but today we have finally arrived to stay.

Eden is a beautiful peaceful place because it is where man and God live together on this earth. Of course God doesn’t live full time in Eden, He never did. ‘He art in heaven.’ But when He comes to visit He sees His children, alive and loving, just as He always intended them to be. The pride of this Divine Father is no less than the pride any father feels for his sons and daughters when they look and behave like the best of him, and when they accomplish great things for this world.

Awakening to Eden has been the most astounding experience of my life. I hope to stay here all my earthly days. When my body yields to nature I hope to go to live without my body in the resting place where God’s children wait for the new body and the new earth pictured in the Revelation to Saint John. For now, I want to thank Eve for giving me the idea of going back to Eden and we both want to thank Jesus Christ for paving the way back.

Eve and I had fallen asleep on soft ground by the mouth of the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea where lain the lifeless body of Jesus.  A cool breeze wafted over our faces sending a chill down my spine. It was the day after the Sabbath rest but it seemed to me like the very first day of creation. The world felt fresh as if recently plucked from its roots in bondage.

“Eve look, the stone is still there.” Our eyes were fixed on the closed tomb as if it was the horizon waiting for the brilliant tip of the sun to appear.

All of a sudden a shimmering white light surrounded the boulder revealing what must have been a glorious surge of light inside the tomb, like the light I imagine appeared on the first day when God call light into existence, like the Tabor-light of transfiguration, like the blinding light on Moses’ face after visiting God. In serendipitous unison, Eve and I and the rest of our party slowly whispered, “Praise God” incapable of saying anything else so utterly flabbergasted were we.

By the light of the moon and stars we could see a wind push the boulder away from the mouth of the cave.  We witnessed the figure of the man-of-light walking out of the radiant tomb surrounded by a host of archangels. It was the same body we had seen hanging on the cross, but transfigured again. He was holding a stick and His head was held high like a General proud and victorious after battle, refreshed from a mission well accomplished and with no casualties. But not a man: a god, imagine Zeus, imagine Apollo. The archangels surrounding Him were militant as well; perhaps it was Michael on His left side, perhaps Rafael on His right.  Outside the tomb the entourage was greeted with a host of cherubim cheering and laughing. Such sober merriment eyes had never received.

Jesus Christ spotted Eve and walked right up to us. He looked her straight in the eye and she looked up at Him with great courage and loving admiration. Jesus said to Eve, “Follow Me. I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Unable to sustain the power of His presence, Eve buckled and fell at His feet. I think I felt myself and the rest of us disappear, I’m not sure.  The party of Christ with His servants and friends then turned and walked away fading from our sight, leaving a lone angel to wait in the cave.

Like the Shunemite woman’s son, like Jairus’ daughter, like Lazarus, Jesus returned from death. Unlike Lazarus and the others, Christ brought a gift, the tree of life, to share with the children of God. Like the dove that carried the olive twig back to Noah, Jesus carried a branch from the tree of life to His brothers and sisters. 

Christ returned from exile, the same exile to death that Eve instituted upon mankind.  He endured His Holy expedition through the twirling flames of betrayal, persecution, and crucifixion for one purpose: to show Eve, me and you the way back to life: to immortality where mankind consciously lives with God, in His Will, and according to His likeness.

Welcome to Eden, my reader-friend. Let’s proclaim the good news that death is no longer mandatory. Let’s follow Christ’s footsteps through the flaming swords or tuck ourselves safely inside Him to reach the tree of life that was planted in the middle of Eden at creation.

With tears streaming from our eyes Eve and I hugged each other tight while singing, voicing, proclaiming and saying, “We made it! We made it!”

Then Eve said, “I must go back for Adam. Oh I can’t wait to tell him where we’ve been! Please be here when I get back okay?”

I smiled and said, “I hope to be; go in peace sister. I’ll wait here for the ladies to show up. I can’t wait to see the expressions on their faces.”

Eve winked and left skipping down the path.

The New Day.