Paradise… Re-lost: A Meditation on Haiti and Genesis 3

Paradise lost. A place so perfect, so pristine, so not like what we see now.

Yeah, there are some pretty places here. Beaches, oceans, mountains, streams, Bryant Denny.

Thing is, everywhere was like that. At least, that’s how I envision it. It was all… good.

Well, almost all of it. Eat from this tree, you will die. Maybe not like a keel over type of death. But a death nonetheless. Death from this garden. Death from perfection. Death to knowing evil.

Something I hadn’t really thought about before. It doesn’t say anywhere that there wasn’t evil present in that Garden. They were just oblivious to it. They weren’t supposed to know about it. Just keep on keeping on. Run around naked, do what you do, just don’t eat from that tree. Because if you do, it’s all over.

But then, they do what we know they did. Couldn’t resist. Fruit just looked too dang good. And so did the temptation to want to be like God. I think we all can relate to that. We all want to play God, to be in control, to know what’s coming and when. And we all have succumbed to that temptation. Not that much different from Adam and Eve.

Except, with them, that’s where it all started. And that’s where it all ended. And now we live here in this world of murder and rape and bloodshed and, God forbid, earthquakes.

Earthquakes which quite literally shake the foundations of our lives. 7.0 on the Richter scale near the slums, shaking house and home, crushing lives, and rendering a people long helpless even more so.

So many images to choose from this week. People covered in ash and soot and rock. Tear-stained cheeks and bodies strewn about the streets. Not knowing which direction to turn. Just standing there, looking, without any sense of direction, except, in a move that defies logic, continuing in prayer.

Prayer. After everything that once was no longer is. After a sense of deprivation turns into desperation. Songs in the streets. Lift high the cross. Prayer.


This is what the world has come to. This is what we see when we turn on the evening news or CNN. Loss. Death. Nothingness.

And prayer.

I guess they know something I might not. I guess they know that, even in the worst of times, someone is still there listening to them.

Interesting how, after all the ‘curseds’ and gloom and doom that God pronounces upon the serpent, Adam, and Eve, that there’s this little tidbit. It’s something I’ve never really caught before.

Did you see it? Says here, “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.”

And clothed them?

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I feel like doing when someone has screwed me over, much less ALL of creation, is go shopping for them.

“I’m so sick and tired of you! Let’s go to The Gap!”

And clothed them…

Despite all they had done wrong. Despite the fact that paradise was lost, that God’s grand design had gone awry, that things would never be the same, God clothes them.

If ever there were an image of grace in the Bible, this would be it.

Maybe that’s what our brothers and sisters in Haiti know. Maybe that’s what they see and believe. Maybe that’s why they lift their voices and cry out to a God who they know to be present.

That even with all that has gone wrong, even in a world that once was a Garden but now a place where the earth shifts beneath our feet, that in the Great Mystery of it all, God will be there, patching together garments of clothing for them, clothing them with grace.

At least, that’s my hope for them.

That’s my hope for us.


~ by presbytide on January 19, 2010.

One Response to “Paradise… Re-lost: A Meditation on Haiti and Genesis 3”

  1. God is so good! I really enjoyed this post James. Definity some food for thought. Thanks for your insight!

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