Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 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.
Today is Friday the 15th of February, in the fifth week of ordinary time.
The University of Johannesburg choir conducted by Renette Bouwer sing the Kyrie from Missa De Meridiana Terra: Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy. These imploring words, which have been sung for centuries, are a reminder of the inexhaustible mercy of God, of God’s unfailing compassion and forgiveness. As I listen, I might think for a moment about my need for that forgiveness, and the need, too, for me to show that same forgiveness to others.
Today’s reading is from the Book of Genesis.
As you listen to this familiar story, take a moment to consider each of the characters portrayed – the serpent, the woman, the man, and God. What do you notice about them? How do you react to them?
After the man and woman have eaten the fruit, they are ashamed and hide from God. Imagine what it is like in that garden, in the time of the evening breeze: God is walking in the garden and the man and woman are hiding. How do you feel as you consider this?
Listen again to the story and notice what moves you, either energising you or disturbing you.
Take a few minutes to talk to God about how you respond to this story, and take time also to listen, to hold yourself still and attentive in God’s presence.