God’s Partners

The garden of Eden with the fall of man, by Jan Brueghel de Elder and Peter Paul Rubens

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4)

This week we start a new cycle of readings for the coming year and we return to the beginning of the Bible and the book of Genesis. Each year in the fall, our lessons take us back to the beginning and walk us through some of the high points of the Old Testament story while always pointing us forward to the coming of Jesus and the message of life that he brings.

The story starts with the first man (Adam which means “of the earth”) and his struggles to find meaning and purpose in the world in which he has been placed. It isn’t easy and as he struggles to figure life out, God grants him a partner (Eve which means “mother of all living”), and together they join forces trying to make sense of the world in which they live.

It is not easy finding our purpose in life. It never has been. Adam struggled to find it alone. God offered him animals as partners but none were up to the task. God then formed Eve from Adams’s rib, taking her from his side to show that they were equals in this work, and then sets them out to work in the garden.

Distractions come their way, though, and before you know it, instead of working to care for and grow God’s garden they are talking to a serpent. The result is they end up doing what they aren’t supposed to do rather than what they are. This team of people who have been created to be partners with God are off doing their own thing instead.

It is easy to relate to Adam and Eve’s dilemma. Like them, we have been created to join in with God’s work in the world. Like them, we are called to work with each other to accomplish this. And like them, we are often distracted from the things God wants us to be about and instead expend our time and energy on things that are opposed to the things that matter most to God.

Jesus’ coming brings a new way of living to all that. Reconnected to God through Christ, we are invited back to a new relationship with God – one grounded in listening to Christ’s voice guiding us and then using our time and energy to join in again with all that God is doing.

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