Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Monday, February 15 Read Genesis 3

And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and his wife, and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

Fig Leaves and Forgiveness

So God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden and sentenced them to a life of pain and hard labor. Where is the hope in that?

When I was young, I was fascinated with the thought of clothing made of fig leaves. All the pictures we ever saw showed full fig leaves covering the vital parts of man and woman – an artist’s rendition, of course. My mind pictured the tedious necessity of reconstructing that “clothing” again and again, day after day. It would be a dreary task at best and not very plausible for people working hard in the fields.

Then my uncle sent me a grass skirt from New Guinea, where he was stationed during World War II. Though not substantial, it showed me that there would be ways for the clothing to last more than a day or a few hours. Still, the idea of a grass skirt as clothing was not very conducive to feelings of permanence and well-being.

At some point, I finally got around to reading the entire Chapter 3 of Genesis for myself, not just the part about being thrown out of the Garden of Eden that had been emphasized in Sunday school. Verse 21 enlightened me and gave me hope. It reminded me of a statement sometimes used in my family, mostly with grandchildren nowadays: “You can never do anything that would make me stop loving you, but sometimes I don’t like the way you behave.”

That is what I think God is telling us in Genesis 3:21. He may not like the way we act, talk or treat others, but he always loves us. He proved that by providing clothes, food and shelter to Adam and Eve, even though they had deliberately done what he had told them not to do. As a parent and grandparent, having someone deliberately defy me in that manner makes me furious. Just like me, God was probably furious with his children’s disobedience. But despite his anger and disappointment, God made life easier for Adam and Eve by providing what they needed for survival in their harsh new world.

God further proved his love by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Knowing Jesus, it is possible to live in hope daily. Thank God for the lessons of love that give us hope every day. May we learn to share that love with others.

Jolene Dougherty

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