The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 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.’
- Genesis 2:15-17
Life in the garden is full and purposeful. Adam the protohuman discovers that. He has fullness and purpose in the garden as a steward and caregiver. It is his call and his work, not as a burden but as a fulfillment of purpose and relationship with the earth and the Creator. There is more than enough for him, such abundance. But there is also a boundary. “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” That is God’s tree. The human being has enough, but already you can sense the questions… will that satiate, will that fulfill, will he abide by the boundary itself?
Let’s leave the lingering tree of knowledge for itself right now and think about the first part of the passage. Humanity is called to work
and purpose and gifted with abundance and fulfillment. This is the human original condition according to the story. And we can touch those primordial gifts even now. God still gives them to us. Life isn’t perfect (as it was in the garden), but there is glory and goodness to be discovered in the call and gifts that God gives to us in our lives.
Lent is a time to reflect on our call and work. It is also a time to zero in on the abundance of gifts, talents, and opportunities God gives to us. Yes, there are always boundaries. It is part of the human experience since the beginning. The point is not to become obsessed with boundaries but to look to the call and abundance. Life is different and so much more fulfilling from that perspective.
How does your call and work fulfill you… where do you see and experience God in your daily work and life? Do you sense abundance and fulfillment around you… where and how? To what is God calling you now that might be new for your life and faith?
- The Rev’d Dr. Jim Lemler, Rector