Longing for Eden

Here's some good news that many of us don't actually think about each day:

"You are alive today!"

The last year and a half has been difficult for so many reasons, and that challenge has led to suffering for some, and languishing for most.  The people of the Bible knew languishing, and so much of the biblical story expresses the human longing for Eden -- the paradise God created, described in Genesis 2:8-15.

In Eden, human beings were able to tend the garden and see the fruits grow -- things that lead to whole-life joy.  And because of the reality of sin and suffering, it is all too easy for us to forget or abandon hope in that joy.  But hear this:

"You have permission to feel good!"

Many of us will look to aspects of our childhoods to remember an experience of "your Eden."  Do you have any memories or stories of experiences of "Eden," that is, simple and burden-free moments of joy?  Pastor Aaron shared a memory of picking blueberries with his grandfather.  Pastor Mike remembers biking around the neighborhood with friends until after sunset.  How about you?  Would you share your story of an "Eden experience" at "SHARE YOUR STORY?"

And yet somehow we've lost Eden.  Even if we think we have everything we need, it is difficult or even impossible for too many of us to reclaim that Eden experience.  

This summer, we're going to meditating on the gift of mirth, which God gives and Jesus celebrated.  We have the opportunity to rediscover not only the concept but the experience of child-like faith as we try new things, connect with new people, and make essential time to do things that are fun, re-creational, and make room for the Holy Spirit to "restore to us the joy of God's salvation."

Let's back in the business of living, because in Eden business is good.

Reflect:
- Find someone to share the story of an "Eden experience" from your life.
- Is it difficult for you to think of an "Eden experience?"  You're not alone.  Not every childhood is marked with joy and freedom.  But you can still reclaim your life for restoration.  Is there someone you can talk to about your childhood experience?  If not, would you consider contacting a pastor to share with?
- What is one way you can be an amateur this summer, trying something new without the pressure of having to be any good at it?


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