Light a Candle to begin your prayer:
Almighty God open my mind and heart to your word as I read of your gift of Unity Amen
Read Genesis chapter 3
Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’
The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’
‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’
He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’
And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?’
The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’
Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’
The woman said, ‘The snake deceived me, and I ate.’ …
So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
Reflection on Bible Reading:
There is a lot of symbolic language used here, Adam means man. Eve also means woman. These are not, repeat not historical stories of two literal people who actually existed, this is a symbolic story about becoming aware of good and evil. We know this for three reasons, firstly the names Adam & Eve are symbolic names, meaning man and woman i.e. us. Second, the narrative is written in a mythological style. Thirdly, this story was not repeat not taken literally by anyone in the church until the seventeenth century at the earliest. All the great saints of the Church and Jewish writers throughout history understood this story as a myth. To understand this as history is to take all the meaning out.
What is the moral of the myth? The first thing to notice is that evil existed before anyone ate the fruit (not an apple but a fruit). Evil is represented by the serpent. Snakes were always seen as evil in the ancient world as they killed people. The serpent is evil, eating the fruit gives Eve and Adam the knowledge of good and evil. Evil was there all along. So what is this myth trying to tell? It says we are not born knowing the difference between good and evil, it is something we learn. Like a baby Adam and Eve don’t know that they are naked. When we were very young our parents bathed us. Now I definitely would not like my Mam to bath me, why? Because I would know that I would be naked. As we grow up we understand that there is good and evil. We as humans can make moral choices. Infancy is often seen as an age of innocence like the Garden of Eden. God throws us out when we first knowingly commit evil. Basically this story tells us that as humans we are all fallen, we are capable of good and evil and we know the difference. We are expelled from innocence in our infancy why? because we know that it is wrong to hit, bite and shout about bob the builder yogurts, but we just don’t care. This follows us through life, except as adults we shout and hit about different things. We are in short, imperfect sinners.
Pray this prayer aloud:
the earth is full of the glory of your love.
May we your children, born of the Spirit,
so bear witness to your Son Jesus Christ, crucified and risen,
that all the world may believe and have eternal life
through the One who saves,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen
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