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Sunday Message for January 31, 2021

The First Awakened Presence

Let's start with prayer: Father, Mother, God; peace fills me as I center myself in divine love. By the magnetizing power of divine love, I know that I am poised to experience and express love in any moment every day. I am one in the harmony and unity of divine love. Peace is my practice as I live in love. Peace is my practice in this very moment. The healing power of God flows through my body and I am whole. As I attune to the animating power of God life, I claim divine life is my life. Releasing thoughts that lead toward worry or doubt, I claim innate vitality and wholeness. I am one with life! I heal as I realize that my natural state of being is well-being. I heal in this very moment. Thank you, God. Amen

We've been talking about awakening to life this month and this Sunday I'd like to talk about the first awakened experience. Where did this all start? In the beginning when God created the heavens and earth from Genesis 1:1. So let's take a look at the first awakened presence, Eve, and what might be learned from her

It says in Genesis 1:27:
So God created humankind in his image,
     in the image of God he created them;
     male and female he created them.

But in Genesis chapter 2 the story is told in a little more poetic and flowery way:

2: 7then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.'

18 Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.' 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said,
'This at last is bone of my bones
     and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
     for out of Man this one was taken.'

So after creating order out of chaos, God created mankind. Big mistake, mankind is good at creating chaos. Just kidding, God, I'm glad you created us.

There are so many interpretations of the creation story. Most of them being based on the individual's religious beliefs. But if you believe in a loving God, as we do, then this story takes on a whole new meaning.

Ed Rabel writes: "We look up the word Eve in the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, and we find that one of its meanings is "elementary life." So then the character Eve represents elementary female qualities in the life of each individual. .... She is all of the female components of our life, basically, which can be summed up as our ability to feel. Please remember that in this part of Genesis, Adam And Eve do not represent thinking and feeling; They represent The Ability To Think, The Ability To Feel. It's all potential, because we're still in Eden. That is completely interior, completely, totally interiorized, pure potential, pure innocence, pure ignorance; because they have not tasted any knowledge; they have no knowledge of good or evil, so if they're both totally lacking in knowledge of good and evil, how can they even know that disobedience is wrong? They have no knowledge of good or evil, so how can they know that disobedience is evil?"a

So we now have the man and woman made in God's image and the divine place to live, the garden of Eden.

And you can equate this to a baby coming into this world trailing clouds of glory. They are placed in the garden of Eden because they're in a place where they are taken care of, all their needs are met and they are loved. They are pure, innocent, and ignorant.

Then in Genesis 3 it says: 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"?' 2The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but 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." ' 4But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' 6So 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. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

8 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. 9But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' 10He said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.' 11He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?' 12The man said, 'The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.' 13Then the LORD God said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent tricked me, and I ate.'b

OK 1st they had no knowledge of good and evil therefore they couldn't be judged for what they did. 2nd the serpent in most mythology and most literature signifies wisdom. It said, "the tree was to be desired to make one wise" And 3rd, this was the first instance of passing the buck in the bible. Adam says the woman you gave me made me do it. (not only blaming Eve, but also God) Then Eve blames it on the serpent.

So this baby we were talking about sees something beautiful and wonderful and sticks it in their mouth to see what it tastes like. Do we say that this baby has fallen from grace or has committed some terrible sin? No, they were just doing what babies do. They are innocent, and don't realize that this might be bad.

Ed Rabel wrote: "'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree..., or you shall die.' I translate that as, "You shall not eat of it, neither touch it unless you are willing to die. Not, I'm going to kill you if you do it, but unless you're willing to die, don't eat of that. Follow me? You see, I've altered the connotation of that statement slightly. The meaning remains the same. But I want to get away from that thing that Adam and Eve think God's going to kill them if they do, because if they really thought that they wouldn't have touched it. But the meaning is, if you do not want to die to this current state, this current realm, in which you are existing, then don't eat that. But if you're going to eat that, then you've got to take the consequences, which will be death to this type of existence."

"The serpent said unto the woman, "You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Gods, knowing good and evil. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired, to make one wise (sounds like pretty good reasons to me) she took of the fruit of the tree and did eat and gave also to her husband with her and he did eat."

... And then Adam and Eve are both told that because of the choice they have made, they are going to get what they want, but it's going to be a tough row to hoe. And it is, of course."c

Eve chose to eat the fruit of wisdom to learn about good and evil. This is the natural progression of life. We go from innocence into the world to make it on our own and it may be hard at times, but this is how we grow. Eve chose to awaken to life, to be an awakened presence in this world and that's what we need to do, awaken to life.

Rumi wrote: "Little by little, wean yourself. This is the gist of what I have to say. From an embryo whose nourishment comes in the blood, move to an infant drinking milk, to a child on solid food, to a searcher after wisdom, to a hunter of invisible game."d

So it is safe and comfortable in the womb but we don't choose to stay there forever. We outgrow that and we become the infant drinking milk. But we can't subsist on milk our whole life. We outgrow that and become a child on solid food. Only then can we become the searcher after wisdom. Only then can we go out into the world on our own and be awakened to life.

This was the choice that Eve made. Not a choice to be disobedient, but a choice to grow up, to learn, to become wise, to move out into the world and be all that she can be. She knew that she would have to die to this Eden experience so that she could grow. But she chose wisdom.

And this is a choice that we face. Do we want to stay in the womb? It's safe, it's warm, you're taking care of. Or do you want to move out and be all you can be. Do you want to be an awakened person?

Even though at times this choice feels like you're going to die, you are only going to die to the past experience, to the limited experience you're having. Your life, on the other hand, will expand.

So then God gives them clothes of animal skins to wear before he sends them out of the garden. Does this sound like a vengeful God? No this is the loving God that we know.

In a similar fashion, we send our children out into the world. We prepare them as best we can as parents and then we have to let them go. They have their own lessons to learn to become an awakened presence.

And how do we best prepare them? By becoming awakened ourselves. By showing them, by example, what it is to be an awakened presence in this world.

Let's close with a prayer: Father, Mother, God: Help us to grow from an embryo, to a baby, to a child, to an awakened adult. Help us to die to the negative experiences in our life and awaken to the positive. Help us to die to that which is no longer needed in our lives to the positive possibilities that are awaiting us. We know that we were created in your image and your likeness and that we have no limits. Thank you God. Amen

aEd Rabel
bGenesis 1, 2, 3
cEd Rabel

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