I've heard that if we took sin out of scripture we would be left with a garden and a city that looks a lot like a garden. It dawned on me that our removal from the garden was an act of mercy. For if we had eaten from the Tree of Life, we would never escape our suffering. Eternally we would know the reality of evil. HaShem protected us. So we went east. Trying to do this on our own. Our hearts were created to face outward, now they turned in and we became the object of our own affections, gone was the divine love that we were created to share. So we walk east. And because our hearts are turned inward we don’t hear the spirit, the ruach, rumbling in the valley of dry bones.

                Then a rabbi with smelly friends and calloused hands, walks into a garden and his followers have two swords and are told that if they live by these swords- if they live by this symbol of separation, of conquest, of violence- they will die by them. And the swords fall and the ineffable name, “I am,” is spoken and soldiers fall. And Yeshua, He gives up heaven and is willingly  cast off, His covenant rejected, His crown defiled in the dust, His walls are breached. His splendor ceases and His throne is cast to the ground. And HaShem cried. Creation shook. The veil was torn. Eden was opened. As Yeshua cried, HaShem whispered and all creation heard. Our beloved stood in His garden and collected myrrh and spices and He drank milk and ate honey, and knocked on our door. Yet, we hesitated and He was gone. His voice echoed through the trees and our soul was stirred. We searched; yet, could not find Him.

                So the women go to the tomb and find it empty. And a woman weeps over her beloved and a gardener dries her tears and sends her to tell the others. Eden is open. His voice whispers. Let he who has ears, let him hear.

               All of history is the turning of HaShem’s face to His people and our deafness and defiance. He is calling us back. Eden is open and we feel the divine  love we lost long, long ago. We feel the love when we become a family with those who are not of our flesh and blood. The divine in others reflects on the divine in us and our hearts are turned outward. Because hearts turned outward express true love in community. They carry each others burdens. They cry tears with others. Not because its what we ought to do, but because its what we do. We love and laugh because we are reflecting Eden. In Christian community, the future invades the present and the kingdom comes down, because the kingdom is within us. We have the keys to Eden. We have the keys to Eden. We have the keys…  

             I have come to believe that in living life with others in deep community we tap into what Christ meant when he said that the Kingdom of God is now. See, when we live out this community, constantly reflecting the lights of love and mercy, we become a small taste of Eden. We have been given the keys, yet we let them rust. For many they become objects that we look at with wonder because their purpose has been forgotten. Like a rare antique, people gaze upon these keys and make stories about what what they once were.  The gates of the Kingdom are open. Heaven is coming down. The Kingdom is inside you. You simply must listen to the whisper, return from the east, and turn the key. Enter in the gates. Come in with me. Find your healing. Find your family.