by Bryan J. Neva, Sr.
As I received ashes on my forehead during Ash Wednesday Services, the start of the Lenten season in the Church, the minister said to me, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return!" Lent is a time of mercy, grace, repentance, and forgiveness when the Church invites her children to be introspective, pray, fast, give alms, and to repent and believe in the Good News of salvation. In this way we can grow closer in our relationship with God.
The experience of Adam and Eve in the creation story in the book of Genesis reveals a lot about what happens to us when we choose not to obey God, or when we drift away from God by the small choices we make. God asked Adam, "Where are you?" Adam replied, "I was hiding." Sin drives us to hide ourselves from God, others, and ourselves. To admit our faults and ask for God's mercy and forgiveness opens us to the realization that there is no enemy to run away or hide from but a friend towards whom we are always invited to gravitate towards. Sin induces us to narrow our world into a small little corner which is a far cry from the spacious beautiful Garden of Eden God intends for all his children.
Just like our first parents, Adam and Eve, we all have the propensity to cling tightly to our weaknesses, faults, and twisted past. Unconsciously, we refuse to let go of whatever is driving a wedge between us and God. When we continue to hide from God and resist the opportunity for a new life in God, we're not hiding from an enemy but from a friend who can truly help us and save us.
The story of the fall from grace of our first parents Adam and Eve had a happy ending. God first showed compassion, mercy, and forgiveness towards them and promised them salvation. God continued to help them and their children down throughout all the ages. Finally, God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us all. And despite appearances, God continues his work of salvation in the world today trying to change one heart at a time.
God's mercy and forgiveness is far greater than all the accumulated sins of the world. So don't be afraid and continue to hide yourself from God. Come out of your hiding place and embrace God who loves you and cares about you and wants to make something beautiful of your life.