Everyone who has ever heard the creation story has wondered the same thing: what was it like? What was the garden of Eden like? What were the trees like? What was the water like? What did it sound like? How did it smell? How warm was the sun? How cool was the breeze? How refreshing were the mists? The biggest question for me, though: what was it like to walk with God when the earth was new?
In Genesis we read that God walked through the garden in the cool of the day. What a fantastically inspiring thought, but what can I compare to it? I have had the pleasure of living by water a number of times during my life. Many mornings I have watched in wonder as a great blue heron would fly through the mist across the ponds, occasionally touching a wing tip to the water. Other times gentle rains would fall, each drop spreading ripples that expand, overlap, and finally disappear in the intricately patterned waves. So much beauty and so much grace, but nothing to compare with God. I have listened to babbling brooks. I have watched hawks soaring and deer leaping. But still nothing compares with the joy that wells up when I think of God walking through the garden.
C. Austin Miles wrote the hymn In the Garden (I Come to the Garden Alone). He recorded that when he penned those beautiful words, he had an image in his mind of Mary in the garden after Christ’s burial. It was a poignant picture of grief turning to joy as she met with Jesus, who was at the same time both her son and God the Son. As I read the words of the hymn, though, I also experience an inspiring and comforting image of walking personally through the garden of Eden with the Creator, God the Father. Think of communing with God as you read the words of the chorus:
And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
and he tells me I am his own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there,
none other has ever known.
As you continue your pilgrim journey to the foot of the cross, may you know the joy of taking time to tarry with God in the garden. Then share that joy.
Follow the Path!
[Use with Walking with God, day 5 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]