Monday, February 27
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.
As a child involved with learning things in school every day, it never made sense to me why Adam and Eve weren’t supposed to eat a fruit that let them learn what was right and wrong. However, this is a story about much more than apples. It has to do with a problem initiated by Adam and Eve which is still with us.
Seventeen verses before the verses above we are told that there were not one, but two trees involved. In addition to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was also a tree of life. The knowledge of good and evil is tied to the tree of life. This is not a story about morality. It’s talking about knowledge of the divine plan of God that lies behind life and death, a plan that involves life and immortality. This plan is God’s business, not ours. When Eve and Adam violated the use of those trees, they were trying to be like God. We still try to be like God whenever we assume that we, and not God, have the plan, are in control of our lives and to maintain that control, must be perfect.
Our encounter with our Lord Jesus frees us from the burden of always trying to be in control and perfect. Lack of control is not deflating but is daily Good News. This season of Lent is all about the relief that we experience when we acknowledge our uncontrolled imperfection and thus remember that God is in charge. We don’t have to be perfect in school. We don’t have to be perfect children or parents or spouses. We don’t have to be perfect employees or employers. We don’t have to be in perfect health and afraid of losing control when we are sick and die. A loving and good God is in charge of all that.
I’m not given to miraculous messages from God, but I once had a dream that I can’t explain any other way. It had been one of the worst weeks possible. All I was hearing was bad news and accusations against me, including my own. I gave up in despair. That night I dreamed I was floating in space in a peaceful and beautiful weightlessness. A calming and warm voice came out of the void and simply said, “It’s okay.” Even though my little world was crashing, the voice told me that there was a larger picture in which God is in control, and therefore I was okay. I woke up feeling inside a peace from God beyond reason and understanding.
Our encounter is with God’s Son who forgives our imperfection and lets us live in gratitude because we live forgiven and free in God’s world.
Good and loving God, thank you for your peace which passes all understanding. Amen.