God Walking

Jonah and Alina

“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze …” Genesis 3:8

The back story: My son-in-law recently became enchanted with mushrooms – those wonderful natural expressions of flavor and beauty. Steve has worked hard to be able to identify what you can eat and what you can’t. In the process he has learned a lot about wild berries. Steve and Sarah (my daughter) live with 6 year old Jonah and 4 year old Alina. The children often accompany their Dad on the “mushroom / berry hunting excursions” in the woods around their house.

The story: Sarah went to pick Jonah up from school the other day and as she approached the school she saw Jonah’s teacher with Jonah in tow coming toward her. The teacher also had something in her hand. As they drew closer the teacher began to chastise my daughter. “Mrs. Konezny,” she was exclaiming, “your son told some of the students that it was OK to eat these wild berries!” The teacher held up a branch with some berries on it. “Oh, yes,” said Sarah as she examined the berries and the branch they were on. “Those are autumn olives – they are delicious!”

The teacher would not be dissuaded from her anger. “We had to call poison control! Please tell Jonah he is not to tell other students what they can or cannot eat in the wild!”

Very few of us can distinguish any more what in the wild  is poison and what is deliciously edible. I wonder … how would we do distinguishing whether or not the footsteps we hear in the garden are divine or otherwise?

On Sunday night I was outside standing in the driveway. It was very dark. There is almost no ground light where my daughter and her family live. Woods surround their home. Suddenly I heard a sound – a “smack” like something had landed hard against something else. I froze, waiting to see if I could detect any movement. Seeing nothing, I was left to assume that perhaps a branch had fallen out of one of the large trees and hit a patch of dry leaves. But what if it was the sound of God’s footstep!

Imagine that! Perhaps that’s the only way this can be conceived – by way of our imagination … But to hear the twigs snap under the weight of God’s foot as the Almighty walked in the garden … Would that be exhilarating for you? or terrifying?

Some would have us believe that any sort of faith in any kind of deity is less and less reasonable given all that we are learning about our universe. Indeed … perhaps it takes more imagination than it used to to believe in God. And perhaps you have to be hyper-imaginative to think that you might actually hear God walking toward you …

It’s autumn in New England. It’s the evening of the year. Maybe the Holy One is on the prowl. Maybe those sacred footsteps can best be recognized by those who walk in the woods and spend time in the garden learning the truth about who is friend and who is foe.

A blessed Tuesday.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.