Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Joseph: You know, Mary, I think a lot about what it would have been like to live in the Garden of Eden.
Mary: I know Joe. Everything was so perfect wasn’t it; God meeting with them in the cool of the evening, taking walks, getting to name every animal under the sun, no cancer or death or even sin in those days.
Joseph: I think the three worst words in the entire Bible are, “Now the serpent.”
Mary: He will trick you every time if you’re not careful. Remember what the serpent said to Eve? “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the Garden?” It’s like I want to yell at her, “Eve! No! God didn’t say that.”
Joseph: Yes, it really threw her off didn’t it? She also seems to have forgotten what God said, though. Remember her reply? “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”It’s like I want to yell at her too, “Eve! No! God didn’t say anything about not touching the tree.”
Mary: You know, Joe, God didn’t actually say anything to Eve about that tree. God gave that command to Adam before Eve came into the picture. Maybe Adam told her wrong.
Joseph: Mary, don’t go there.
Mary: The serpent started by trying to confuse Eve about God’s Word. Then he deceived her with a lie about God’s Word. Remember that one? “You will not certainly die. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent got Eve to disobey God by telling her that God’s Word was not true and could not be trusted.
Joseph: You know, Mary, that’s one of the things I so admire about you. When God’s Word came to you from the Angel do you remember what you told him?
Mary: I think I do. It was something like, “Here am I the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your Word.”
Joseph:When you think about it, you are kind of like a new Eve, Mary. Only you are trusting the truth of God’s Word and obeying it.
Mary: Oh Joseph. You would do the same thing. Hang on. You are doing the same thing too aren’t you. Remember that dream you had where God told you not to leave me but to trust him that it would all work out?
Joseph: I get it. In ways we are just like Adam and Eve, and God knows we have repeated their mistakes. Let’s hope this time we are listening carefully and hearing him rightly.
Mary: Yes God, please give us ears to hear and a heart to trust you completely.
Joseph: Thats it Mary! People don’t obey who they can’t trust. They might forced to comply, but obedience actually comes from knowing you can trust because you know you are loved.
Mary: Let’s remember that as we are raising this child. Seems like so many parents get that wrong these days, thinking obedience comes from powering down, when it actually comes from being there to catch us when we fall.
Joseph: Bingo! That’s who our God is; the one who catches us when we fall. The whole world could have ended when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, but God had mercy. Things were never the same after that, but God caught them. They paid a big price for their sin, but God had mercy.
Mary: That’s what concerns me about this child. Remember, the angel said we would name him Jesus because he would save his people from their sin. I don’t like the sound of that too much. But we trust God, right? I’m just looking forward to the day when that serpent gets the boot!
Joseph: Amen. You might give the Donkey one of those treats now. We’ve got to stop soon for the night.
Read. Hear. Meditate. Memorize. Do.
The Experiment: Remember the “Trust Fall” exercise? Try it with your children. Have them stand on a surface higher than the floor and face forwards. Next, position yourself with perhaps another person across from you, to catch them when they fall. MAKE SURE YOU CAN CATCH THEM! Now, instruct them that you want them to listen carefully and obey your commands. Maybe ask them to pat their head or clap their hands or shake their right arm. After establishing the rhythm, command them to “fall backwards” they should fall straight backwards. Assure them you will catch them. All they need to do is to trust you. The point of the exercise, of course, is to make the connection between listening/hearing and obedience and trust. Before they will willingly fall backwards at your command, they must trust that you will be there to catch them. Relate it back to Adam and Eve’s failure to listen well to God’s Word to them and their failure to trust and to obey.
Note to Parents (and readers): This first week will be the only week where I use the dialogue approach. My point here is to begin Advent with a creative rehearsal of the BIG STORY and to make some connections to the Gospel Story in the process. Yesterday we dealt with Creation, today the fall, tomorrow Abraham and Sarah, then Moses and Egypt, and on to David and Kings and finally to prophets and exile. Remember, we are beginning Advent by resetting the storyline. Stay with me.
PEOPLE GET READY. JESUS IS COMING!
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