The Apple of God’s Eye

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“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’ ” (Genesis 2:15-17 NRS).



We have been acculturated to think that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an apple.  This was furthered by all the prolific depictions of the Garden of Eden and, what has been termed, the Fall during the resurgence of Renaissance art.  Nevertheless, the Bible does not specify what the fruit looked like, nor call it an apple.  It does say that when Eve looked upon the fruit she saw that it was “a delight to the eyes” (Genesis 2:6).  I suppose that could evoke images of that perfect apple.  When I saw this piece of art by Boyko Kolev, a Bulgarian artist, I couldn’t help but smile and silently say, “Amen!”


“THIS IS NOT A BIBLE STORY” by Boyko Kolev

Part of me always cringes that people can readily proclaim that the fruit Adam and Eve ate was an apple, but they cannot articulate the greater meaning of the story: that we are morally corrupted people in desperate need of redemption from our state of sin.  This doesn’t mean that we are all born as evil and depraved individuals, but that we are prone to sinning.  Unfortunately, if you live past infancy, then you are guaranteed to sin, not because you overtly want to, but because we are selfish by nature and willing to take self interest to extremes unless we are taught otherwise.  Other sins will flow forth from there.  It is precisely because of all this that we need the sacrificial atonement of the cross which Christ provided to all people who choose to believe.  That belief is the ground of our hope, the ground of our being as Christians.

Now tomorrow is the day, May, 21st, 2011 that some have calculated to be the end of the world, the Judgment Day.  I myself listen to Jesus who says, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36 NRS).  The Apostle Paul echos Christ in saying, “For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2 NRS).  We are not meant to know the day or the hour, nor are we to dwell on it and let it consume our thoughts.  We are the people of the Living Christ, called to live as people who do not fear death because Christ conquered it for us.  Why focus upon our doom when God calls us to celebrate that we are the apple of his eye?

“My child, keep my words and store up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye” (Proverbs 7:1-2 NRS).

“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words.  Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.  Guard me as the apple of the eye” (Psalm 17:6-8 NRS).

“For thus said the LORD of hosts (after his glory sent me) regarding the nations that plundered you: Truly, one who touches you touches the apple of my eye” (Zechariah 2:8 NRS).


Instead of cowering in fear, overwhelming yourselves with trepidation, or filling your days with preparation for a day beyond our comprehension, let us live as Christ calls us to live.  Let us embody the joy of the Resurrection.  Let us sing the praises of our God who bestows upon us the title of “Apple of His Eye.”  Let us live each day, from dawn to dusk, praying, studying scripture, worshiping, taking our place in the fellowship of believers, and acting justly to all those we meet so that our lives will be an enduring testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I think you’ll find that more than enough to do and keep you too busy to become obsessed with the day of Judgment.

But, if not, then I give you the words of a great Christian, priest, and theologian, Martin Luther: Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.  That’s the kind of hope we need, the world needs.  The hope we have in Jesus Christ.  Keep planting, God will keep watering, and faith will keep growing.

Prayer:
God without beginning or end,
You have given us so much,
With just the command that we love you and each other.
Let us cling to the hope we find in your Son.
Prevent earthly obsessions and fears from filling our days,
So that we cannot speak your truth or enact your will,
But, instead, speak of fear, death, and endings.
We are your children of the light, the apple of your eye.
May your message of hope, new life, and new beginnings be in us.
May your words flow forth from our mouths,
Your will move our hands and feet to the good of others,
And your Son be in our heart all of our days.
Amen.
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