Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

God making clothes for Adam and Eve, Russian Orthodox Byzantine Icon

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21

This is a beautiful verse, an extraordinary one even, its sparse phrasing brimming with love and forgiveness. God's plans have been thwarted by Adam and Eve. In anger God banishes them from the Garden of Eden, sends them out into the wilderness, into the cold, to fend for themselves. He curses the very ground on which they walk, promises sorrow for all their days. And He makes them coats.1

The character of God is revealed not in the anger, nor the harsh punishment, but in the love that shines through despite these emotions. God cannot help but love these imperfect creatures, desire their care, and take steps to ensure their safety. They are, after all, made in His own image.

When I get angry with those I love so dearly, my wife, my children, my family and friends, may I remember this act of compassion, and consider what coat I may make for those I cast into the wilderness, beyond my affection, if even for a moment.

And may I remember this act of compassion too, when my anger rises against those I've never met, the Powers That Be, the ones who manipulate my life and choices from afar—and then to those closer to home who think, act and believe differently to me, the ones I fear, the ones I am tempted to insult, dismiss and exclude. Who can possibly offend me in the way Adam and Eve offended God? If that act is redeemable then so is everything else, every act committed by man, mankind, humankind.

We are all made in the same image, all imperfect, broken people. There is no hurt one can do to another so great that a gift of warmth is not warranted. There will always be a remnant of love; sometimes we need to look long and hard to find it, but it is always there.

1 For a non-typical interpretation of the Adam & Eve story I recommend Who caused human suffering—Adam and Eve—or God? by Paul Smith, Integral Christian Network, 2020