The Upper Room Disciplines is a best-selling book of daily devotions published annually by Upper Room Books. Each week’s readings are reflections on scripture passages from the lectionary for that period. On Mondays the first reading for the week will be posted. We’d love to hear what you think about the week’s readings and prayers. Just sign in and add your comment in the Comments section following this post.
Read Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Ah, Human. What have you done? Here you are, set in a beautiful garden. You have everything you need and free rein over it. Yet look at the choice you have made! God set the parameters clearly. But you made a choice that has marked
human life since that day.
We know that consequences are a part of the natural order. We live in a world that does not spare us consequences, good or bad. We define our lives by our choices. We live or die in them.
Consider what Adam and Eve lost in their choice. They had it all. They had each other. They had relationship with God on a daily basis. They had purpose in the garden of Eden, “Till it and keep it.” They chose to overreach, to desire the same knowledge as God. Their choices of disobedience and unfaithfulness took them from the garden, away from God’s daily presence.
When choice and consequence take us from relationship with God and one another, we no longer live in paradise. We lose that place of plenty, that place of unity and love.
It’s easy to blame a beguiling serpent when our own lackluster faith and ego-self drive the poor choice of wanting to be God, with God’s eyes and God’s knowledge. Why is it not enough to be fully human, part of the story of beginnings, creatures set in a beautiful place to care for it and to share fellowship with God in paradise?
As we prepare our hearts for the journey of Lent, let us acknowledge the spot from which we start. Let us consider the choices we will make in the coming weeks that will prepare us for the healing that is Easter.
Guide me, O God, in ways that lead to life. Keep me from choices that take me from you and from those I love. Amen.
Lib Campbell is a retired United Methodist pastor who continues life in the church as Pastor Emeritus of Spiritual Formation at Saint Mark’s UMC in Raleigh. She facilitates a lectio divina group and leads retreats in her ministry, Tending the Garden of the Soul. Lib blogs at avirtualchurch.com and offers spiritual guidance and mentoring to those who ask. Lib and her husband of 48 years have two children and four grandchildren and live in Raleigh, North Carolina.