In the Garden of Eden
In my July 16th post, I made reference to the Garden of Eden, hoping alert Herald-News readers would recall a previous letter I had written the month before. For those of you who might have wondered which part of left field I was coming from when they noted this reference, here is the letter:
May 18, 1994
To the Editor:
God created an ideal place when He created the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were created as two true reflections of God's multifaceted image. God saw what He had created and it was good. Then the devil convinced them to eat from the tree of knowledge. This knowledge was the devilish idea that if two people are different then one must be better, the other worse; one must be "good," and so the other, being different, must be "evil."
Suddenly they were ashamed of their differences. They hid from God and sewed fig leaves together to cover the places where their differences were most obvious. The devil knows that if he can divide us over our differences, he can separate us from God as well, since we are each a part of God's marvelous creation. That's exactly what happened.
We see this again with Cain and Able. Cain raised crops; Able raised animals, so their two offerings to the Lord were different. Cain got the idea that since these were different, then one must be better, the other worse. He assumed that his was the worse and in his anger, he rose up and killed his brother.
So it goes through human history. The idea that if two people (groups, races, religions) are different, then one must be good, the other bad, has led to more death, destruction and human misery than any other evil scheme the devil could have devised. The devil has neither the power to create nor destroy, but by convincing us to hate those who are different, he can sit back and gleefully watch as we destroy one another.
Jesus came to change all this. He extended His love to all without reservation.
When people came for help to the house He was visiting, He didn't stick His head out the door and say, "OK, now, all you women get to the end of the line." Instead, He treated both men and women in turn with equal consideration.
When He had His disciples pass out the loaves of bread and the fish He had blessed, He didn't say, "except for those Ethiopians back there in the corner." Instead, He had them give what little they had to everyone, and what was small became great as a result of His kindness.
When the lepers seeking help met Him on the road, He didn't tell the five heterosexuals, "Boys, have I got good news for you," and tell the two homosexuals, "Go jump off that cliff over there." Instead, He sent all seven on the road to recovery.
He didn't ignore the man at the pool of trembling waters because he was too old or allow His disciples to turn the children away because they were too young. Instead, His promise of redemption reaches down to all ages.
He turned no one away because they were too sick or their bodies too broken. Instead, He extended the healing power of His love even beyond death, beyond the grave.
By His words and His actions, Jesus left us with one simple message: That we should love God and love one another. But that's just two ways of saying the same thing! We cannot love God and not love every one of His children.
Only when we follow Christ's example and treat every person with understanding and respect, despite our differences, can we thwart the devil's attempt to divide us and become one again with God our creator.
William J. Ware