They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 NRSV)
I wonder what the man and the woman heard when God decided to take an evening stroll in God’s good creation? Could it have been the easy breath which cascaded around them as an evening breeze? Maybe it was the rustling of fallen leaves which triggered the rustling of their hearts? Or perhaps it was the dream shattering crack of a stepped on branch awakening from their stupor?
Whatever they heard, when they realized the one in whom they first found life was now in their midst, the man and the woman scurried for cover as quickly as a squirrel runs from a dog bursting forth from the open door.
They ran. They hid. They hoped they would not be found.
They played their own personal game of Hide and Seek which they hoped would end in a stalemate, but they had to have known better. They had to have known the Gardener would find them, would notice they were gone, would notice something was different.
Fear had taken hold of their hearts and it would not relinquish them. In the midst of sewing together clothes, they felt the fear of being known, being found out. They were afraid of being seen for who they really were, so they sought the solace of clothing and a hiding spot. They substituted fear and cover up for the living in the presence of God.
What’s more is they even tried to cover themselves with blaming. “It wasn’t me!” was the chorus of the man and the woman. The clothes they fashioned covered up not only their naked screw-ups and shame.
What do the clothes we wear cover up? From what do we hide in and amongst the trees?What are we hiding not only from each other but from God?
The trick was, and is, God saw through the man’s and the woman’s attempts at disguising their mess up. God sees through ours too.
God sees through our fatuous blaming of others. God sees through our loquacious attempts to paint a picture of success. God sees through our boisterous attempts to drown out God’s condemnation.
Maybe all we need to do is follow the words of Jesus: “Repent, and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15b). Maybe we need to turn away from our useless attempts to conceal our shame and believe that God loves us. That God is and always has.
Thanks be to God.