Lent Day 17: Shame in the Garden

IMG_1394Genesis 3:9-13, Zephaniah 3:17-19 NASB
Shame in the garden
How does shame fit into this cozy garden scenario?  It doesn’t.  We can’t imagine a more perfect setting, nor can we grasp the freedom Adam and Eve experienced in Eden.  Fresh-faced with wonder, they romped, tasted, and enjoyed the very best life God could provide for them.  But the scene then changes.  Scripture states that the serpent visits and we read the first recorded incidence of shame.
In our journey from Eden to Gethsemane, we trace the trail of shame and look to Christ, who endured the cross, despising its shame, and learn new strategies for shameless living.
(Adapted from Finding Life, pages 100-102)
Eden – The Garden Lost
Scripture Alive!
Leader:    The story of humanity’s sin begins with a tree and ends on a tree: first, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and finally, the cross on which Jesus dies. The first tree offers fruit that leads to death, but the second offers a death that leads to eternal life.
Reader 1:   Then they heard the sound of the Eternal God walking in the cool misting shadows of the garden. The man and his wife took cover among the trees and hid from the Eternal God.
God (calling to Adam): Where are you?
Adam:  10 When I heard the sound of You coming in the garden, I was afraid because I am naked. So I hid from You.
God:   11 Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten from the tree in the center of the garden, the very one I commanded you not to eat from?
Adam (pointing at the woman): 12 It was she! The woman You gave me as a companion put the fruit in my hands, and I ate it.
Leader:   Since Adam and Eve, people have been blaming others for their mistakes. Adam has the audacity to blame God for his.
God (to the woman): 13 What have you done?
Eve:  It was the serpent! He tricked me, and I ate.
(Genesis 3:8-13, The Voice)
Leader: God’s response to Adam and Eve is touching.  Yes, he explains the consequence to their sin, but God’s immediate answer to their hiding and their shame is one of love and sacrifice.  God’s sorrow and heartbreak over their choices and their loss of innocence are woven between the lines as our God tenderly covers their nakedness with fur.
Reader 1: Still, we find ourselves, with them, cast out from Eden, stumbling around in shame, unable to accept the covering, unable to embrace the truth—that God loved us from the beginning and would rather die than have us separated from Him.
(Adapted from Finding Life, page 106)
God: 18Don’t be sad anymore about all the time you were away in exile,
Unable to keep the appointed feasts or worship Me in the appointed place.
I will gather those who’ve shamed you, Zion.
19 Keep watching! At the right time,
I will deal with those who assaulted you.
I will steady those who are lame and about to fall;
I will gather those who are outcasts and oppressed.
Instead of being filled with shame as they always have been,
I will fill them with praise and make them famous over all the world.
(Zephaniah 3:18-19, The Voice)
Leader: When confronted with sin, we all handle it differently.  Some feel remorse and repent.  Others try to hide it and cover it up.  Still more ignore it like nothing happened.  But just like Adam and Eve, you can’t hide from an all-knowing God.  Fortunately, he is also a loving and forgiving God.
 

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