God’s Garden of Pleasure

Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder, 570c

God made Adam holy, pure, and good—without spot or blemish. In him was life and eternal youth. But in the Garden of Pleasure God gave Adam one command to test him, to see whether he would obey or not. God told him that if he would disobey he would have to suffer the consequences.

God’s Garden of Pleasure is now the church community. And like in Adam’s day, the serpent still tempts those that are in it. The serpent asks, “Did God really say?” Then, if human desire takes over and we, like Eve, take of the forbidden fruit, innocence ends and the misery of the curse becomes ours.

Driven out of the Garden of Pleasure, the disobedient live by the desires of the flesh and sin takes overhand. Original sin slays them spiritually. But Christ’s death broke the curse of original sin. Children no longer die for their fathers’ wrongs.

Neither shall the innocent suffer if they die before reaching maturity. Only if they grow up and turn their backs on Christ, does original sin with all its wicked power begin to work in them. Everything impure—fornication, adultery, witchcraft, anger, swearing, drunkenness, stinginess, robbery, charging interest on money, idolatry and all things similar—spring up within them, along with dead religious customs and hypocrisy.

“Unless you be converted,” the Lord says, “and become as little children, you will not see my Kingdom. And unless you believe and are baptised, you will be condemned.”

“If this be so,” the repentant sinner replies, “I see that I have wasted every day of my life. I have used up my time pursuing things without value. But now I see my error. What, pious servants of God, shall I do? Tell me what I must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”

God’s servants answer, “Stop sinning and let yourself be baptised. Then God will accept you through Jesus Christ, his Son.”

Hans Schmidt,        -1558, Raiffach, Tirol, Austria

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