First off, speaking of strange things, I simply must share a photo with you. Several friends and I recently found ourselves at the Anderson Jockey Lot (and for those of you unfamiliar, jockey lot isÂ ourÂ name hereÂ in the upstate of South CarolinaÂ for a flea market. I do not know why it is called a jockey lot. I just go and take in the sites and do not ask questions.) The jockey lot is a thrifter’s paradise, a cornucopiaÂ ofÂ the senses, the great mother load of one-of-a-kind treasures. Where else can you can find Chinese rip-off versions of Uno for $1, mix-n-match confederate bandanas, and spray-on Elvis body art all in one place? As I discovered, however, there is a code, an ethic, a certain decorum to the whole experience which is diligently maintained by well-posted rules such as this.
‘Nuff of that. // //
For several weeks, I’ve been buried in the first three chapters of Genesis. It truly is the ultimate story: aching beauty, tragic deception,Â carnage and ruin. However, I find strange glimmers of hope in places I would not suspect, hints of redemption imbedded in theÂ very place where the devestation is the most severe. Here are a few, with only first thoughts. I’d like to leave the commentary to you.
// Adam and Eve ate, and their world immediately shattered, a fissure rippled through creation. TheirÂ soul must have taken a harshÂ jolt.Â Immediately, they hid and began to snatch leavesÂ in a frantic attempt to cover themselves – and God’s first action was to come to where they were, to pursue them with a question, “Where are you?” God would not leave them in their hiding.
// Adam and Eve’s fig-clothes were sad attempts at modesty. Worse, they were the very symbols of their rebellion, of how they gave God the finger. Yet God met them in this dire place they had made for themselves – and gave them better clothes. God would not leave them naked.
// Strangest to me, the more I look at what has classically been called “the curse,” I see mercy (a severe mercy, to be sure) even there. God actually did not speak a curse to Adam or to Eve. God only used the word “curse” against the ground and the serpent. It’s as though God would not use such language against his own image. WhatÂ God didÂ level against ourÂ father and motherÂ seems to me to be -not a curse- but a redemptive judgment. God’s judgement infectedÂ Adam and Eve’sÂ primary roles, their primary place of strength and competency (Adam working the elements of the earth and Eve nurturing life and relationships in her world). Was this hardship and struggle necessary for Adam and Eve to realize (in stark contrast to the lie that led them to their destructive choice) that no, they were not God, that no, they could not manage life on their own, that yes, they actually would be dependent on God for life and purpose and relationship and joy. God would not leave them in their delusion.
Pascal said that two things pierce our heart: beauty and pain. God’s first choice had been to flood Eve and Adam with beauty. And he had. Beauty everywhere, in everything. But they did not listen to the beauty. Perhaps, now, they would listen to pain. A strange redemption.
Where doÂ you see God’s strange redemption?
peace (even if it’s strange),