Today’s Bible reading

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” — Genesis 2:15-17

More thoughts for meditation

Humans, unlike the rest of creation, have the option to disengage from the great cosmic movement of love towards the Creator. God created us with freedom. John Behr, Eastern Orthodox priest, notes that whereas all else was created by divine fiat, no such command was used with humans. The Hebrew grammar brings that out more clearly. “Let there be light!” is the injunctive mood which implies command, whereas “Let us make the human being” is in the subjunctive mood, which implies something imagined or possible. God has invited us into existence and even invites us now to participate in our own on-going creation. This is our dignity as well as tragedy. We can reject that invitation, and indeed the account in the garden of Eden is a story of that rejection. It is as though the link of gravity that joins planet to sun were severed, and the planet goes off spinning into space.

This is quite applicable to our spiritual life. God still invites us to participation. He is not making us into passive puppets, but aims for us to be restored in all our capacities to choose, to love, and to create. At the core, we are developing the capacity to hear God’s voice in the depths of our spirit, and to respond. Jesus’ ministry was full of invitations to “follow me.” Invariably, this invitation to participation came with a sacrifice. People left their jobs and all that made their lives stable and predictable. The story of the rich young man tells of a invitation that was declined. Mentally he was prepared. He had “kept all [the commandments] from his youth,” and apparently was able to declare his intention for eternal life. However, the needful thing was to stop diagnosing and managing his spiritual problems, and simply accept the invitation to move with God. Eternal life is not about obtaining but about releasing. Jesus invites us to let go of the chains that bind our hearts so that we might enter freely into the eternal life that is present here and now.

Suggestion for action

One of the aims of prayer is to restore the connection of love between us and God. Part of this involves listening to your own life – where at this specific point of your life are you being invited into some deeper and richer? Another question that maybe is more helpful is to ask, what is the thing which, if I let go of it, just might make me free? Take some time to journal on that question.