Reflection for Trinity 1 6 June 2021

When they heard the sound of Yahweh walking in the garden at the cool of the evening, the man and the women hid from Yahweh’s presence among the trees of the garden. Yahweh called to the man: ‘Where are you?’ ‘I heard you walking in the garden,’ replied the man. ‘I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid.’ He said, ‘Who told you of nakedness? Have you eaten from the tree of whose fruit I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put beside me, she gave me fruit, and I ate it.’ Then Yahweh asked the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The snake tempted me, so I ate.’ Then Yahweh said to the snake, ‘Because you have done this, you are accursed; lower than the cattle, lower than the wild beasts; you will crawl on your belly, and eat dust every day of your life. I will make you enemies of one another, you and the woman, your offspring and hers. Her offspring will wound you on the head, and you will wound hers in the heel.’

Genesis 3:8-15

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Adam ate the apple but Eve got all the blame!

In May’s edition of the magazine ‘Gardeners’ World’, James Alexander-Sinclair writes that ‘in spite of the global upheavals and heartache of the past year, our gardens remain unmoved and unbothered by pandemics and lockdowns…..If we only learn one things from all this turmoil it is to appreciate the phenomenal power that gardens have to make us feel so much better.’ In this past year we have learnt to be grateful for our gardens – if we are lucky enough to have one. Children and adults alike have got creative not only in gardens but also in courtyards, container pots, balconies and window sills too. The link between gardening and good mental health has been recognised for some time. People feel better for being outside and putting their hands into the soil. As lockdown restrictions lifted, there was delight in meeting up with family and friends in a garden, even in the snow!

Our bible reading is set in a garden. It comes from one of the two stories of creation that we find in the book of Genesis. These stories are myths, a particular genre that recount universal truths in a symbolic way. Used as proof texts to justify patriarchy and the subordination of women, these are texts that have been poured over, interpreted and argued about for centuries. The story of the garden needs constant revisiting; it needs to be reinterpreted in order that women and men and children can be the people God creates us to be.

God the Creator plants a garden. It becomes a place of birth and also a place in which to grow up. Human beings find their identity and equality in the garden. It is here that we learn to recognise good and evil in our world. It is in the garden that we learn to grow in our relationship with one another and with God.

Rev Canon Nikki Arthy, Rector

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