Growing up in the South, I was use to the normal rhythm of the year at our church of a “spring revival” and a “revival” in the fall. What is a “revival” you ask? Well, it’s where a congregation gets a special speaker to come in and make us all feel as guilty as possible! OK, maybe that’s a bit much. But the purpose of the “revival” (I’ve always found it a bit presumptuous to announce a revival before it happens, but I digress) was to “save the lost” and get the “backslider” to rededicated himself to God. Because being lost was the worst!
I find that true of all of my life! I don’t like being lost!
Look at our Lesson today in Genesis 2:20-3:20. We are going to focus on the section of Genesis 3:8-20
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
We all know this story well; at least we think we do. I’d like to point out some significant moments here that might just “fill up” our understanding of this pivotal moment in human history. First, we know that Adam and Eve have broken the fast given to them by God to help them develop the skills necessary to be in communion with each other and with God. Frankly, unless we learn and then teach how to use our freedom responsibly we will see our lives crash over and over again. No wonder the Church, continuing the wisdom initiated by our Creator, gives us seasons of fasting to learn this valuable lesson.
After Adam and Eve break their fast, God, doing what He always does: seek communion with His Humanity; goes looking for Adam. God asks “Where are you?” Do you think God asks this question because He didn’t know where Adam and Eve were? No, of course not. The very first lesson I need to learn when I’m lost is that I am, in fact, lost! God asks so that Adam will realize his situation.
Then God asks “Who told you that you were naked?” God knows the whole story, but if there’s going to be a healing of this fall, humanity has to confess. But Adam does what I do all too often. He tries to shift the blame onto someone else. If you think Adam wants to blame Eve, you’re wrong. Adam, the crown of creation, blames his Creator: “It was that woman YOU GAVE ME.”
Finally, God asks: “What is this that you have done?” Again, it isn’t because He doesn’t know. But, if Adam and Eve are ever going to escape the pit they’ve dug for themselves, they are going to have to embrace confession.
Today, if you feel lost in your life, know the only way out is honest confession. Not hiding. Not shifting blame. Not trying to justify. No, if you’re going to be “unLost” it’s going to go through the difficult relationship work of confession. That’s the only way to ever be Orthodox on Purpose.
P.S. I pray you are having a wonderful Great Lent so far. This week has been filled with services and prayers. This Great Lent, attend one service of Great Lent you’ve never attended before, so that when God comes looking for you He’ll find you in His House! Have a great weekend.