Long, strange journey back to where we started

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬-‭17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.””
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭1‬-‭5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Long, strange journey back to where we started

Life is a full circle journey, where we spend much of our early years striving for gain, whether it be growth physically, or the endless push for position in this world. In the end, we, having embarked on this long, strange journey, we find that we only ended up back where we started.

This reality was driven home for me during the final years of my Dad’s life. I watched in horror as dementia stole him away from himself, one day at a time. The great man who lifted his family out of poverty, who served as a strong example of what it is to be a man, particularly a black man, had been reduced to a manchild, exhibiting behaviors far beneath his years.

In a very real sense our world is on the same journey, for we spent millennia moving forward, to our zenith, only to see our world go into decline. At the rate we are going, we will find ourselves at a point of no return. We have topped the bell curve, and it is all downhill. I think the apex occurred with the birth and ministry of Jesus.

Only those who have called upon Jesus have resisted the downward spiral of our world.

Reading Revelation chapter twenty one, my reading of the Bride, the New Jerusalem, who appears on the New Heaven and New Earth, and not before, reminded me of that long circular journey. We started in the very presence of God, intimate with Him from our creation.

From the beginning, God involved us in His work, putting Adam to task of tending the garden of Eden. He gave Adam one rule: And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””

But even then, evil one was lurking, for the serpent, the devil of old, deceived the woman Eve, and we were separated from the presence of God.

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ””
Genesis 3:1-3 NKJV

She fell for the oldest of the devils devices.

“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
‭‭I John‬ ‭2‬:‭16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Sin and corruption entered the world, and the long, strange journey began.

Reading through the bible, I love that this morning’s passage comes near the end. Having nearly completed my annual read through, I can refer back to the journey, of the constant effort of a loving God seeking to be reunited with creation gone astray, and creation’s failure to get back into the garden by its terms.

I also find myself reflecting on my own life, of my own banishment from the garden, for I am descendent of Adam. I think of the journey of the Lord Jesus sending so many messages of love into my life. He sent so many messengers, so many lovers of HIs to tell me the truth about my sin and of the great grace that He had for me.

The there was that moment when I set foot back into the garden. When we come to Jesus, we are given access in to the eternal, into the spiritual space set aside for those who have believed God for salvation. We have been given eternal life, we have been allowed into the presence of God.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV

With that re-admittance to the garden, we have been given a task, much like Adam. We are put to work tending the field of souls, taking the message of the Gospel, so that salvation can be extended to others of the creation who have gone astray.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭18‬-‭20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Brothers and sisters, I don’t know about you, but I am filled with excitement of living in the New Jerusalem, on the new heaven and new earth, of basking in the glory of the Son, who will be our light outside, where now He is our light inside.

I am on my own physical journey, as I have am seeing my own body degrade, and my capacities falter as I return to my own early state, dependent on others. But with the degradation, comes great rejoicing, for it is one more sign that I will soon see glory when my journey on earth is through.

I am sustained by that glorious destiny, for I like Paul, am looking forward.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

Let us lay aside those things that have held us back, and let us press on with this journey, fulfilling the mission the Lord has given us go and tell the world of the Gospel while there is still time.

Lest we forget.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.”
I Corinthians 15:1-6 NKJV

Have a blessed Lord’s day!






One thought on “Long, strange journey back to where we started

  1. #MeTo Bernie. Will you please continue to pray that I will/we will continue to attend for the garden of souls, given to us go by the Lord.

    Also, I love and I am challenged by the honor that you gave your father. May the Lord comforts you and give you peace, my friend.


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