First Tuesday in Advent: Relating

Genesis 2 was the passage we read tonight in our Advent reading. It tells about the Garden that God created, the first man God created, the animals God then made to show man that he needed a special companion and the woman who was uniquely made as a companion for the man. It also describes two special trees in the garden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The latter was the one tree forbidden by God for the humans to eat the fruit from.

The tree is a quandary. We know little about it other than it's forbiddenness and the consequences of eating from it. On some level it seems cruel of God to place it there. He surely knows that Adam and Eve will partake of its fruit. Why create Paradise if parts of it are off-limits?

The real question is: can we have Paradise without limits--that is, can we love God if we don't have opportunities to obey him? Or does God truly love us if He doesn't give us boundaries?

At the very core of this passage is our need for relationship, formed in the very core of our being. God created us in His image, and God exists in relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God shows Adam that it is not good for him to be alone. He needs human, as well as spiritual, companionship. And relationships, if truly formed out of love, and if truly healthy, contain boundaries and command obedience. As parents, we give our children boundaries, not to be mean, but because we love them, we want them to be safe and we want them to grow up to be responsible adults. As children our obedience is an act of love.

And that brings us back to Advent where we wait. But we wait not alone; we wait in relationship with God and with others. In our waiting for the return of the Christ, we are called to be His incarnate love on earth to our neighbors.

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