The Fruit of Disobedience

By Sherry Black

A Reading from Genesis 3:8-15

8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

Meditation

We all know the story: God told the human he made from dirt not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or the human would surely die. The human went on to work in the garden, and God created the woman, out of the human’s bone and flesh. Now man and woman, they were naked and not ashamed. A crafty serpent appeared in the garden, and had a dialogue with the woman, twisting God’s words. “You won’t die, but your eyes will be open, and you will know good and evil.” The woman ate, and the man ate, and they discovered they were naked.

When God goes looking for them, they hide. And when God asks what happened, the man responds with a whole lot of “I” statements: I heard; I was afraid; I was naked; I hid; I ate. The focus of the relationship between the human and God shifts from companionship to self-centeredness. In recognizing their nakedness and shame, a new vulnerability enters the relationship between the man and the woman; trust is broken when the man blames the woman.

One small act of disobedience turns their relationship with God and with each other — and the rest of the world — upside down.

And yet…

When our disobedience took us far from you, you did not abandon us to the power of death. In your mercy you came to our help, so that in seeking you we might find you. Again and again you called us to into covenant with you, and through the prophets you taught us to hope for salvation. Father, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as one of us, yet without sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation; to prisoners, freedom, to the sorrowful, joy. (BCP 374-5).

The Very Rev. Sherry Black is a second-career Episcopal priest, and has been a full-time hospital chaplain for ten years. She also serves a small mission church as priest-in-charge, and is dean of her deanery.

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Today we pray for:

Christ Church, Tyler, Texas
The Church of the Province of Central Africa

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