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Friday, August 31, 2012


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- Genesis 3: 7-11
"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?"

Most people assume that all the Bible has to say about sex is that it is bad. This is not true. It has lots of good things to say about sex, and we will be getting to those in the coming weeks, but today we do need to start with some sort of Biblical foundation for where sex and sexuality first went off the rails. And it is right here in Genesis. Adam and Eve have been frolicking in the primeval Garden of Eden. And they had been doing it naked. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with this. But then they ate from the Tree. You know the Tree, the one with the apples? Yeah. That one. They ate from the one they weren't supposed to eat from. And what did it do to them? Did it make them yell and fight with each other? Did they try to kill each other? Did they start tearing up the garden and hurting the animals? No. None of these things happened when sin entered the world. Instead what happened is they became embarrassed. Ashamed. And they covered themselves up.

When God showed up, and they were not only ashamed to be naked in front of one another, but also in front of God, they predictably hid. And God knew what had happened. They had been changed by the knowledge of that which is evil. Now I would wager all of us know the feelings of shame our own bodies can induce within us. We look at ourselves, see the bald head, the round face, the scrawny legs, and we see imperfection, and we are ashamed. We are ashamed because we imagine how we must look, specifically how unappealing we must look, in the eyes of others. And in our highly sexualized culture, where body image counts for so much (better looking people earn more, don't you know), we become particularly ashamed. And that shame we feel at our own bodies, that shame which tells us that we are unattractive, unwanted, unlovable; that our bodies just aren't good enough and need to be covered, shaded, tucked, lifted, surgically enhanced, is sin! It's sin! It is the oldest manifestation of sin. The inability to see ourselves as creatures in the image of God, but instead as an imperfect and flawed body, is a sin. God doesn't see us that way. When we stand before God, awkwardly trying to cover our worst parts and enhance our best, God still says, "who told you that you were naked?" It's still a good question.

 Prayer: Holy God, forgive me for the shame I feel about myself and my body. Help me to remember that I was created in your image, and that you are pleased with me, and have called me good. Help my trust in you to set me free from my shame. I pray in Jesus' name.

[Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]

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