Where are You?
And God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
We are beginning a series of reflection on divine-human encounters, revealings of God to mortals like ourselves. In this passage, God encounters the “first” human. The story isn’t about the emergence of homo sapiens, but more likely the emergence of humans complex enough to have conscience and be able to distinguish between better and worse and right and wrong. In the Adam-Eve story, the primordial couple go beyond their human boundaries by eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They begin to ponder the complexities of life and discover themselves “naked.” My own sense is that this is not about clothing but about the need to hide, to keep secrets, and to discover guidance that contrasts with their own self-will.
God asks the universal question, “where are you?” Again, this is not as much about geography as spirituality and values. Where are you? What is important to you? Where is your life right now?
God is not accusing as much as inviting persons to look at their lives. What are your values? Where has your life led you?
These are all important questions, especially when we are all facing our mortality in this time of pandemic. Do we need to make some personal course corrections? Where might we need to change our lives? What new possibilities – new routes – might we undertake?
The goal of God’s question to the first persons is not judgment but self-awareness. They will eventually have to leave the “garden.” Like us, they will have to grow up and embrace the complexity of life and our own ambivalence. But the one who asks the questions is also our companion who seeks our wellbeing every step of the way. Let us grow into the grace of the One who Knows us and Loves Us.
Holy One, help us to know where we are. Help us to find our way through life’s confusion, seeking your guidance and following the insights you give us. Amen.