Reflections: July 19, 2021
Monday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
By Harrison Goodman
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:17)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God made everything and it was good. He made Adam of the dust of the ground. Eve would be there soon. Very good. He put them in the Garden, full of every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. Awesome. The Tree of Life was there. Dope! Also the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: If you ate from it you died. Good?
God calls it good. The issue is we're pretty sure it's not. We consider the tree, at best, a test from the all-knowing God who would have seen this coming.
When we don't like something God is doing, we figure He either messed up or is trying to test us. Because we know good and evil now, we just get the two mixed up, so our motives seem purer than the God we call holy. The tree was never a test. It was where God instituted His Church. This was for worship. It was the one place Adam could see God as bigger, and could worship the mystery of God. It wasn't there to hurt him and Eve, but to help them. To ward off the idea that they know more than God. To remind them to fear, love, and trust, and to give them a chance to practice it. The tree was good. The problem started when we decided it wasn't. Because if the tree isn't good, what do you think of the God who put it there?
God knows more than we do. . . but what if we can't trust Him? Eve grew afraid of the tree and wouldn't even touch it. She explains it to the devil. Not "Don't eat it," but "Don't touch it. Don't even go near it." Except "it" is church.
God knew it would happen. Adam's sins. Eve's. Yours, too. The Tree of Knowledge showed the problem, but not how to fix it and live. But that was never the job of that tree. Salvation was never a test. We fell by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but God saved us by the tree of the Cross. His intent was always to save and to love. This was never His backup plan. The Tree of Life was always a Cross. It just took a few thousand years to see the Son hanging on it. But it was always intended for Adam, Eve, and you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Now from that tree of Jesus' shame Flows life eternal in His name; For all who trust and will believe, Salvation's living fruit receive. And of this fruit so pure and sweet The Lord invites the world to eat, To find within this cross of wood The tree of life with ev'ry good. ("The Tree of Life" LSB 561, st.4)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is the pastor of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
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