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The Rev. Frederick Buechner The Rev. Frederick Buechner
The Rev. Frederick Buechner is an ordained Presbyterian minister and author of numerous bestselling books and novels. Visit www.FrederickBuechner.com

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Presbyterian Church (USA)

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Frederick Buechner Center


Weekly Sermon Illustration: Eve

February 27, 2017

In our blog post every Monday we select a reading from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday, and pair it with a Frederick Buechner reading on the same topic.

Next Sunday we will celebrate the First Sunday in Lent. Here is this week's reading from Genesis:

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 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 die." Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 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.

The following is Buechner's article on Eve, first published in Peculiar Treasures and later in Beyond Words.

LIKE ADAM, Eve spent the rest of her days convincing herself that it had all worked out for the best. Their new life didn't turn out to be as bad as had been predicted, and somehow their marriage weathered the change. If they had moments of terrible bitterness over what had happened, they had other moments when it became more of a bridge than an abyss between them and when the question of which of them was to blame got lost in the question of how both of them were to survive. One son died an ugly, senseless death, and another went through life as disfigured by remorse as by a cleft palate. But all in all things didn't go too badly. When the last child left home, it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to be alone again with a man who, after his third martini, might still lash out at her as a snake in the grass and a bad apple, but at least they still had their independence and their principles, which as nearly as she could remember were what they'd given everything up for. They stood, however grimly at times, on their own feet.

It was only once in a while at night, just as she was going off to sleep with all her usual defenses down, that her mind drifted back to the days when, because there was nothing especially important to do, everything was especially important; when too good not to be true hadn't yet turned into too good to be true; when being alone was never the same as being lonely. Then sad and beautiful dreams overtook her, which she would wake up from homesick for a home she could no longer even name, to make something not quite love with a man whose face she could not quite see in the darkness at her side.

 


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