3 The Decision

As it was in the beginning, so it shall be world without end. Amen.

“Please tell my story” Eve begged yanking my heart’s strings.

“I don’t know that I can,” I replied. “There’s not much to go on, a few sentences and then you ate the poisonous fruit and bam!”

“No, there’s so much more. We actually lived in the Eden for many years. After we were banished it was if we gradually fell asleep year after year we forgot a little more of who we had been, forgot what it was like to walk and talk with God until eventually Adam and I fell into a deep earthy sleep. Suddenly I heard Jesus walking. The sound of His footsteps woke us up! We watched as Jesus did what we used to do in the Garden. Yes! We could walk on water too; it was so much fun. Adam and I had races and dove in to cool off. We played Simon Says with the wind and waves. Jesus reminded us of the days when the world was new and fresh. When Jesus appeared I saw in my mind’s eye the way back to Eden. It was glorious! He was there and here at the same time. He showed me that I could go there, and now I must. But I won’t go alone, the way may be dangerous.”

Eve quickly turned her head and peered into the distance, “Look! They are getting ready to leave the world, bring them with us. Please!”

“Who will believe me that a person can go to Eden during Lent. They will think that’s absurd. They want to blame you for all misery,” I looked into her eyes to see if she flinched when I said that but she didn’t so I continued, “They say that after you disobeyed God the whole world was transformed into a dark and evil place, a far country from which no one on earth can escape. I’ll never be able to convince anyone else that it is possible to go to Eden. They’ll think I’m a heretic.”

 “Oh that doesn’t matter.” She responded, much to my surprise. “The chosen will hear and rejoice because they too have been told that the Garden of Eden still exists on earth. God didn’t say He would annihilate Eden or that He would leave it, He only banished me and Adam. Jesus shows us the way there.  Please be brave, take me home, please?”!

Being relentless Eve added, “What’s the alternative, another walk through the desert? Have you forgotten so soon what the desert taught you? I offer you paradise!”

“Eve,” I replied quietly, “ I think that I am too frightened to go to Eden.  What if we get banished all over again? Nowadays when I fail to resist temptation, or when I disobey God, it doesn’t seem to really matter. But in Eden…well, it’s death!”

“That’s just it. You don’t realize that it matters because everyone here eats freely from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Truly put on Christ, as you think you have and you will be able to exist in Eden! That’s what Jesus showed me when He came. This will be the test for us and our Lenten travelers. Don’t you want to know for sure whether you can make it, before it’s too late? Or would you rather be deluded and comfortable in your own fantasy until Judgment Day!” As Eve said this I wondered if she was hitting me back to see if I too could take the truth.

 “Why wouldn’t you want to go? God is there, He never left.” Eve was wide eyed and more hopeful than ever that I would open the gate to the path back to her birthplace and that I could fill it with Christians who are bold enough and pure enough to inhabit Eden, (as if I could with this blog.) Yet, how could I deny her this wish? She was right; what desert could offer a more challenging or rewarding journey?

Reading my mind, I saw Eve’s face aglow with joy.

“Okay” I conceded meekly, “How do we begin?”

4 Travel by Fast

Now that I’ve gotten the nerve to go, I am very excited. You and I are going to escort Eve back to the Garden of Eden for our Lenten Journey; imagine that.

“Eve, when you saw that Jesus was in the Garden while He was here, did you ask Him how to go back?” I asked.

“Yes, He said that we have to wake up and He will give us light to guide us. Our journey will not be by land as the Exodus was, and it will not be fantasy like your vacation to heaven was last summer. He told me that it will be like the real journey we take every morning from asleep to awake. He said it will be a journey of the body, mind, and heart. I think I know what He meant.”

Feeling a twinge of disappointment, I said, “Everyone wakes up individually, how then can we go together?”

“We can go together because it’s Lent! That’s why we can only do this now and not at any other time of the year. During Lent we are united in our hearts as at no other time. We love God together, each in his or her own way. Our united, holy, catholic (universal) heart has the power to return to Eden as it seeks the Father because that is where He placed us, through me, at the very beginning by His Will and His heart. It is the love magnet. Do you see that?”

“Give me time.” I replied.

Eve went on, “No one knows that he or she is asleep when they are, not even you.” she said looking me straight in the eyes with a little smile. “But when we wake up we’ll know it. That’s why, before Jesus came it was impossible to get back to Eden; we were all asleep. When I saw Him I woke up because the man and I were made in Jesus’ image and likeness. I instantly recognized God in Him, in His spirit. Oh, I can’t explain it; I’m not the writer, you are!”

I had never seen Eve so frustrated, but I could imagine what she meant. I had heard about twins separated at birth who later recognized themselves in each other. I suspected that Eve could remember being with God, which is why we need her. Only Eve will know when we have arrived in Eden. But she needs us too; when she saw Jesus she was reminded of when God was near her, but the good and evil of the world stressed her back to sleep. She needs our collective spiritual energy in the Lenten season to catapult her to Eden, and so do we.

Eve continued, “Just as on any morning, your body wakes up first, then your mind, and then your heart. That’s why when you wake up, sometimes you’re still aware of your dream because your body is awake, but not your mind.

The way to wake up the body is by feeding it differently. That will get its attention!  That’s another reason we can only go during Lent. When else can we get everyone to wake up their bodies at the same time? 

To be in Eden, or to go there, our bodies must be nourished in the way God intended at the beginning. We must stop eating meat. In Eden God very explicitly instructed us to eat the plants and fruit that grow on trees. We were fine with that diet.      

The will power it takes to abstain from meat helps the spirit-me master the flesh-me as it should be instead of the other way around; as it usually is! Since God is Spirit, by strengthening our spirits we can be alert to hear His voice when He calls us back into Eden!”  

Not eating meat will be very hard for me, I thought. I was so used to juicy chops and chicken. I wondered if I was able to stop eating meat. I wondered if I would be able to hear God’s voice when I said, “Eve , even though you saw Jesus living as though He was in the garden, how do you know that we will still find your Eden? After all, Jesus was divine too. He wasn’t like me, and frankly not like you these days either.”

I was a little surprised that she didn’t stop to ponder my question when she said, “Because I know that Eden is still here. God never changed the world after we ate from the tree, He didn’t suddenly dump evil on it like rain.”

This was news to me. I had heard that all of creation had fallen just because she ate the poisonous fruit, so I said, “Well then, how do you account for crime, disease, war, natural disasters, all the horrors of this world!”

“Good and evil were always on earth, even before we ate the fruit, and they always will be. Do the people who say that the whole earth fell see how exquisite this earth is, and how beautiful of heart so many people are? No, I will never support anyone who says that mankind and the earth itself fell just because I disobeyed God once!” Eve’s ire was up. “After we ate the forbidden fruit, the only change was our perception. The world didn’t change, we did! Read it for yourself! It was only when Adam and I felt naked that God could tell that we had eaten the fruit. Eden is still here, and we will wake up to it because Jesus shows us how to!” Then Eve grew slightly penitent when she said, “When we turned away from our Father-God to believe the lie that we could be wise if we knew good and evil, then our focus shifted to ourselves. The birth of the ego! That was the moment of death! I admit that I made a big mistake, but I did NOT cause evil! God never said I did. What really happened is that we died by not being one with God.”

“I’ll bet that Jesus ate meat!”  I said trying to calm her down by changing the subject.

“Are you still thinking about meat?! Geesh! It’s not just about eating meat, even though killing animals is horrible; it’s about being obedient to God, trusting him implicitly! Being able to control what you eat, for love of God, is the very first step to being able to control what you think for love of God, and finally being able to control how you behave for the love of God. It’s all about true love and how one demonstrates it.

Some people say they love but there is no proof of that whatsoever. They say that they don’t have to prove that they love God. But I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to. When I loved my babies, I wanted to feed them and care for them and give my whole self to them because that’s what love made me do. If I neglected my babies and said I loved them then people would be able to see right away that I was lying to myself.  

If you can’t say no to eating meat, then how will you abstain from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?”

“Wait; is there really such a tree?” I asked?”

“Of course there is! What do you think got us into this mess? You blame me for something that you all do, ten times a day!”

I think I succeeded in getting Eve very angry with me. “Well,” she shouted, “I’m warning you, when we get back to the Garden, and that Tree is sitting right smack in front of you promising to make you wise as God, you had better be prepared physically and mentally not to eat from it.  So, if you don’t practice not eating something you really like to eat now, how can you possibly resist the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead? Remember, we are going to find the Tree of Life!”

That did it. Finally Eve convinced me of why it was so important to fast during Lent. 1. To get used to the vegetarian life of the garden 2. To wake up my body, and 3. To practice not letting myself have whatever I want so I can practice being obedient, doing what the authority wants when it runs against what I want, such as eating meat! Obedience helps us with the ego problem.

“Are you almost ready to wake up?” she begged anxious to get started.  

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.