Sunday, March 27, 2011

Genesis 2 and 3 - Where are You?

Genesis 2-3 Selected verses - Where are you?

Turn to someone sitting near by you and ask:
Where is God? Answers?

How many times in this past week did you wonder: Where is God? What were the circumstances? Of course, this question presumes that God exists. That there is something behind and within all that is.  It bears some inkling that God is out there somewhere; from beyond ourselves we have been given our life and meaning. But when circumstances in life lead us to wonder: what is our purpose? What are we here for? We may wonder: Where is God?

And when there is no confirmation or satisfactory answer to this question: Where is God? It may be easy to take a second step, which is to dismiss the notion of God's existence all together. "Where is God" becomes "There is no God," or maybe less overtly, "we all alone spinning around on this third rock from the sun."  And once that notion becomes our most prevalent thought...
Oh, it’s on.  Let the rat race begin.

Throughout human history, once humans had any kind of language--”that vast symbol system in which sounds in the air stand in for actions, feelings, relationships and instruction” (L. Rasmussen) Whooo, you should have heard Trasie’s sounds fill the air yesterday when Ruby Gene took off running out of the yard and into the street!  Once humans had language with which to express themselves, this combined with human developing a capacity to think beyond the present moment--You may say I’m a dreamer...but I’m not the only one. An ability to detach from our present reality it “in order to envision and create other worlds, or imagine different pasts and altered futures, with different ways to achieve them.” (L. Rasmussen) 

Making sense of it all:  we encounter stories about God... or gods - consistent in human stories throughout time.  Scientists seek to discover the place where God is in the brain, as those very scientists try to make sense of it. God is all around -  in the unexplained, and in the explained too.  Ruby Gene bowed her head to pray by her self the other day, Gracias Dios. She said. Thank you God. A God moment! And ours, a second biblical creation story from an ancient Hebrew people:  Genesis 2-3, It’s a dirty story as in God with dirt on the divine hands forms Adam out of the dirt and breathes life into Adam and it wasn’t mouth to mouth, but mouth to nostrils...God is also an anesthesiologist who puts Adam to sleep, takes out a rib and shapes Eve; they are in a Garden and there are two trees, The tree of Life and the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. And a serpent - the most crafty among the wild animals.  

This imaginative story, which in no way is supposed to be used for any scientific understanding of how things are in the world, but rather an etiological story (a wonderful Greek phrase), a story that attempts to explain why things are the way they are,  like: Haven’t you always wanted to know why birthing a child is so painful; or Why we wear clothes instead of running around naked like every other animal;  or why give pets names - incidentally, the animals were for naming not eating in the story.  
Goat heads, the declared enemy of bikers and Trasie alike. 
It answers our queries: why goat-heads are there to pop your bike tires; why we get married; why we get in arguments. and why women hate snakes, except for Rachel of course.

And even deeper, why there seems to be a feeling of separation between Creature (us) and Creator (God).  And a tendency to blame others for our actions.   “Had it not been for Eve, we'd just be living it up without a worry in the world.  The good ole blame game, It’s all women’s fault! Hey women...Eve blamed it on the snake... ehhemm

But even deeper, It speaks to all of our doubt of the existence of God in the world. So often we have more than we need, but our needs are unsatisfied, we seek to fill those needs by consuming whenever however much we can. As a result, we are wreaking havoc on our god given companions, animals and other humans alike. Because we ask: Where is God?  Is there a God?

But it could be, as God walks in the divine garden of Creation, as we eat and consume and habitats are destroyed; the earth groans with earthquakes. We consume and wars are fought around the world. It could be, that the question is turned in reverse:  instead of where is God.
God asks us as he asked Adam and Eve in their hiding: Where are you, humans?

Play by Cindy Piatt

Genesis 3: 1-24
JUDGE:  Here we have this beautifully luscious garden, big enough for all to enjoy and live in.  But it seems that you all can’t decide how to use it wisely and for everyone’s benefit.  So now it’s come down to a trial.  
My first question to all of you is:  Why can’t we all just get along?  
Is coming to court the only way that you can think of to settle your disagreements?   
Oh well, let’s proceed.  Women first seems only fair – Eve.  What’s your view of the problem?
SNAKE:  So what am I, chopped liver?  I’m female, too, you know.
JUDGE:  You just wait your turn.  Humans first because they’re in charge, as it says in the Bible.
EVE:  Well, judge.  This snake sort of dared me to eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden.  I told this cunning length of scaly membranes that God said not to even touch it, but then was told that we really wouldn’t die.  What did you expect me to do?  I had never been tempted before.  In fact, I think this is the first time ever that temptation reared its ugly head.
SNAKE:  Whoa!  Are you calling me a temptress now?  I won’t stand for it.
EVE:  No worries.  You can’t stand anyway!
SNAKE:  Oooo – you’ve got a point there.  One for you!
JUDGE:  So where were we?  Snakester, did you really tell Eve that God didn’t want them to eat the fruit of that tree because God didn’t want them to be like God and know what is good and what is evil?
SNAKE:  Why, Mr. Judge, sir, the thought never crossed my mind.  Shouldn’t we all enjoy the fruits of our labor?
JUDGE:  Just answer the question.
SNAKE:  Well, I guess in a manner of speaking, I spoke those words.  And I wish to point out that she understood each and every one of them.
JUDGE: (to Eve)  And did you share the fruit with Adam?
EVE:  Well, of course I did?  Isn’t that what loving couples do – share and share alike?
JUDGE: (to Eve)  And then what happened?
ADAM:  We realized that we were naked – wow!  That was an eye-opening experience!
EVE:  We felt like we had done something wrong, so we covered ourselves up.
ADAM:  With the tons of fig leaves that were around.
SNAKE:  Another precious living thing that will end up with a bad reputation because of all of this.
JUDGE:  OK, OK.  Let’s move on.  What happened after that?  Adam, you first, then Eve, and then Snakester.

ADAM:  Well, it was evening by then and we heard loud footsteps in the garden.  It had to have been the Lord God.  So we did what would become normal for all naked humans – we hid!
EVE:  And then we heard God call out to us.  Uh oh, we thought.  Now we’ve done it.  But the curious thing was, we didn’t even know what “it” was!
ADAM:  All we knew was that it must have had something to do with these stupid fig leaves that we’re wearing.  I’d rather have them off anyway – they just itch.
JUDGE: (to God)  So…What was your intent in calling out for Adam and Eve?  In your way of thinking, what had they done wrong?
GOD:  I just wanted to know where they got the idea from that they were naked.  After all, I hadn’t had the birds and the bees talk with them just yet.  So I asked them if they had eaten the fruit that they weren’t supposed to touch – which, by the way, was for their own good … and innocence.
SNAKE:  Innocence of the law is no excuse!
JUDGE:  Quiet!  Wait until you’re asked a question.  (to God): Well, what happened next?
GOD:  I simply asked the man where he had gotten the fruit.
ADAM:  (to judge) I told God that she (pointing) gave it to me.  It’s all her fault.
EVE:  Wait just a minute.  I’m not taking the blame for this.  Snakester put me up to it.  “Nothing will happen to you.  Look how soft and juicy it looks.  Go ahead and take a bite.”  Now, I ask you, who could refuse an invitation like that?!
SNAKE:  There was no one else to point to, so I ended up taking the blame for this whole ridiculous affair.  And God punished me by taking away my legs so that I could never stand again.
EVE:  Well, you got it easier than I did!  Have you ever thought how easy your childbirthing experience is compared to mine?  Ohhh, the pain of it all!  And now, I have to listen to everything that he (pointing to ADAM) tells me to do.  It’ll be eons before I outlive that edict!
ADAM:  Yeah, well, I now have to work endless hours to get this dry land with not enough moisture to produce anything - when I could be listening to music or going to the tavern and enjoying the fruits of the vine.  You call that “winning the prize”!
SNAKE:  and to top it all off
EVE:  we all got banished from the garden
ADAM: forever.  
SNAKE, EVE, ADAM:  Why would GOD would do that to his Creation?
as JUDGE:  So there you have it folks.  What’s your verdict?

When we say there is no God, and we do not concern ourselves with the consequences of our actions.  When we say there is no God and we can do whatever we want, we take a bite of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, and we become the judges.  We are the ones who are ultimately going to decide what is best for us. We are going to place ourselves in a position to judge others.  
Do not Judge is how Jesus bluntly puts it. When we do not take the time to be with God, to listen to God, to live our lives out of a place where God's very breath fills our lungs and God's very heartbeat pumps our blood, we are lost. We begin to see talking serpents.  We ask where is God, and we are asked back, Where are you, humans?

This Lenten season, as you live sacrificially for the earth and for God, incorporate as part of your practice, breathing in God's mercy. And breathing out God's mercy on others. Sit with God, Speak with God.  and there a mutual discovery of presence will be celebrated.  Because the paradise God created is inside each and every one of us; and it is all around us.

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