Short meditation today, inspired by the rancor of our culture wars. One of the striking phrases from the description of the prelapsarian world of the Garden of Eden is that Adam lived in “easy fellowship” with God. What a rich phrase.
Easy fellowship. Indeed, the Fall didn’t just make fellowship with God “hard”, it made fellowship hard everywhere. We have hard fellowship with each other. We even have hard fellowship with our own, fractured selves.
Easy fellowship with other people is so hard. So much of interpersonal conflict stems from fear, from misunderstanding, from a lack of empathy. Putting ourselves in the other’s shoes, and genuinely trying to look at the world from their perspective, even if to ultimately disagree, is an ever-renewed effort. There is so little about our social interactions that is about easy fellowship. Even in a family, easy fellowship can be hard, but when you do have it–what bliss.
At the level of society, the genius of what’s been called the liberal bargain is precisely that it does, or should, enable easy fellowship. We don’t have to agree on everything to live and let live, side by side. Easy fellowship at the level of society is so great, but like every great thing, it requires deep humility.
Easy fellowship requires breaking down barriers, it requires stepping out of our own comfort zone, and perhaps even dragging other people out of their comfort zone. It requires recognizing each other’s shared humanity. Oh, so many platitudes, I know.
But, how hard do we work at building easy fellowship in our daily lives? Not enough I bet.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and God walked together in the cool of the night, the best time of the day for a desert people.
Easy fellowship in the cool of the night. Ain’t that grand? Let us pray.