Monday, June 27, 2011

Passing Go: Do Not Take Me Back...

On these beautiful days, as summer opens increasingly wide, my mind drifts often toward Eden. When I see sweet flowers share their nectar with bees and hummingbirds. when little girls skip and giggle as they gather up daisies and crowning coneflowers, I think that no other flawless garden could have been more perfect than this one. But, of course, it could. Eden didn't admit thorns or breed aphids or harbor sad withering like mine does. On days like this, I can't help but wonder whether going back to Eden would bring the highest of pleasures.

In fact, as I learned about God and creation and what He originally intended for man, and as I meditated on Adam and Eve's life in Eden, how they walked daily with God outside the reach of pain and guilt, I began to equate that first-created life with the highest I could imagine. "Take me back there," I prayed. "Let me know You and Your sweet Spirit-breath again. Let me know daily the gentle sun and glad harmony with every other created thing."

God did not grant that prayer, though, and He never will. After sin, that future vanished forever. Instead, He has another.

Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.--Ephesians 2:4-7

God will not return us to Eden. Instead, like passing 'Go' in Monopoly, we skip past Eden entirely. He wants instead to keep us with Him, where He walks now, to the heavens rather than here on earth. Eden is closed forever; the angels He placed at its gate made that clear. He does, however, promise another future, not one of sweet garden-tending, but one of adoration, filled with glad hosannas and triumphant hallelujahs. We will walk with Him there, too, but in His own neighborhood, not our own.

So, as I pick whatever thornless and insect-free flowers I can find today, and capture for awhile their gentle gifts, I remember that they do not bring the highest of pleasures. Instead, I let them take me past their own fragile beauty to one that never fades.

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