Reading the Word
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
Reflecting on the Word
Those who recall Francis Thompson’s haunting image of God as the Hound of Heaven, pursuing us down the halls of time might well ask who, in fact, is the hound and who is the quarry, whether we seek God or whether we are sought. If we try to answer the question on those terms, however, we stray into theological foolishness. What we discover, instead, is that all the while we have been pursuing God, he has been rushing toward us with reckless love, arms flung wide to hug us home. God aches for every person, for every creature, indeed, for every scrap of life in all creation to be joined again in the unity that was its first destiny. So while we are crying out, “Where are you, God?” the divine voice echoes through our hiding places, “Where are you?” Indeed, the story of the Garden of Eden reminds us that it is God who calls out first, and to this we answer. God’s yearning for us stirs up our longing in response. God’s initiating presence for us stirs up our longing in response. God’s initiating presence may be ever so subtle–an inward tug of desire, a more-than-coincidence meeting of words and events, a glimpse beyond in a storm or in a flower—but it is enough to make the heart skip a beat and to make us want to know more.
Responding to the Word
For your heart that loves me,
For your feet that pursue me,
For your voice that calls out to me,
I thank you, O God.
Thank you for raising the questions
that draw me into a dialogue with you
about my life and how I have been living it.
Thank you for every tug of conscience
that has led to every timid step
that has brought me out in the open
in my relationship with you.
My hope, O God, my only hope,
is that you are more persistent in your seeking
than I am in my hiding.