In the beginning, the earth was formless and empty.
Darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God spoke “Let there be light” and there was light.
Tonight, I went back and helped teach religious ed to middle school kids.
It’s not a new thing for me, I’ve helped my youth minister teach religious ed for years.
Tonight seemed different.
It’s the same people, same curriculum, same Bible, same God.
I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that I was feeling.
It was like I was standing still, my ears muffled and eyes dimmed, while everything moved in quick and hazy circles around me.
I sat on the floor, sitting among the kids, staring wide eyed at my youth minister as she told the story of Adam and Eve – a story, and those of you who know me well know this, that I adore.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…[then] God created man in His image…and He blessed them.
In the beginning, there was nothing.
God knelt down to the ground, gathered a fistful of mud, breathed life into it.
And Adam was born.
Tonight, I led a discussion with a group of ten eighth grade kids about the Fall.
We read passages from Genesis about the Temptation, the Fall, and the Original Sin.
I sat in that oddly lined circle we formed with our chairs and listened to the halting voice of the eighth grade boy trip over ancient Genesis language usage.
I listened to my fellow group leaders ask questions and encourage the kids to think and wonder and discover.
I listened to the kids ask pointed questions, questions I remember asking at a young age, too – why did God test them in the first place? Why did God make the devil? Why didn’t God stop him or get rid of Satan way back in the beginning?
In the beginning…
In the beginning, everything was new.
I realized what it was about tonight that felt different.
I was different. Am different.
In fact, perhaps I’m even teaching this session of religious ed for myself, not as much for the kids.
Of course I love to teach the kids.
But…how much of what I taught the kids tonight do I need to hear personally, as well?
Adam and Eve were given the seed of doubt and the apple of sin, and fell for it with very few questions asked.
And today, thousands of years later, this rings true in my guilty black heart.
And tonight, I was painfully aware of it.
Am I a hypocrite? Standing up there in front of ten precocious children and telling them to be aware of the prowling of the devil, when I myself can’t even avoid him?
I don’t know if I could call myself a hypocrite, but I am aware of the burden I carry, that of my own human weakness.
I am Eve.
We all are.
We are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve and that is a fate that is inescapable.
Readers, there is hope.
Because we know the end of the story – we know what comes next.
Readers, this story in Genesis is our story, truly, but it is not our only story.
We may be Adams and Eves, but we too are Esthers, Davids, Josephs, Stephens, Marys, and countless others who accepted the beginning but changed the end.
In the beginning, there was nothing.
Out of nothing, we were fashioned.
And out of nothing, we are made into something.
We are made new, readers.
Tonight, I led 10 pre-teens in a discussion about second chances, avoiding temptation, seeking obedience and purity.
Tonight, I sat with the kids and listened to my youth minister, that dear woman I hold in the utmost respect, as she stood up at the front of the room and urged the kids to be aware of our pasts, our beginnings – and also of our futures, our ends.
We are made for something more.
We were made from nothing for something.
Our stories are still unfolding.
C.S. Lewis, a man of deepest wisdom, once wrote “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Do not be discouraged if you fall in this world – because this is not our home.
Truly, I tell you, He makes beautiful things out of the dirtiest.
Adam was born from mud, Eve was born from a rib – we are born in sin.
Readers, you’ve heard the phrase “there are no second chances.”
Hear me when I say that there are no second chances, indeed.
But there are infinite chances.
He never stops remaking you.
He never stops making you new.
Tonight, I realized that teaching feels different because I am different. I have been worn down, my paint is chipping, my edges are roughened.
I am burdened and wearied and guilty and afraid.
But this week, He is making me new.
And He will never stop.
P.S., want to hear more about my favorites, Adam and Eve? Click on the link “A Side Journey” found in the left sidebar to see the first few installments of a short story I’m working on starring these fated lovers. Enjoy getting to know our Original Parents as I’ve enjoyed discovering them in the pages of my imagination.