In the Garden, In the Cool of the Day, Again
by Jack King
April 5, Easter Day – Psalms 148, 149, 150, 113, 114 or 118; Exodus 12:1-14; John 1:1-18; Isaiah 51:9-11;; John 20:19-23
Alleluia! Christ is risen! The morning dawns when resurrection light casts out the reign of darkness and death. As the ancient Christian hymn proclaims, ‘Christ is risen, by death he trampled Death, and to those in the tombs he granted life.’
On this Easter morning the reading from John’s Gospel takes us back to the beginning, before death plagued God’s good creation. In the first three words of his Gospel, ‘In the beginning…’ John signals he’s telling a Genesis story—a new Genesis story. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ The main subject of this Gospel, new creation story is Jesus of Nazareth. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John reveals that Jesus of Nazareth is the Word of God.
As John’s story hearkens to Genesis, I’m reminded of that moment when God, ‘the life and light of men’ went searching for Adam and Eve in the garden. It was the moment immediately following the Great Rebellion, the moment when Adam and Eve sought to displace God with their own lust for knowledge and control. After they sinned, Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God ‘walking in the cool of the day.’ Adam and Eve feared that sound and hid amid the trees of the garden. The lasting image we have of God on that day is the image of a searching God. God comes seeking Adam and Eve, male and female made in his image: ‘Where are you?’
On Easter morning, we see God, the Word made flesh, ‘walking in the cool of the day’ again. He’s mistaken as a gardener, but this is the second Adam who took on flesh to redeem all sons and daughters of the first Adam and Eve. He comes to take away our shame, to draw us out from the places where darkness has hidden us from his love. He appears in a body that cannot die again, a resurrected body made new after the agony of crucifixion. He comes to each of us, to call us by name. Just as he called Mary’s name two thousand years ago, let us each come and meet the Lord—the Word, the Creator, the Redeemer, the King of Kings—walking to meet us in the cool of this glorious, magnificent day.