I took this photo in the Cairns Botanic Gardens recently. It is a tranquil scene, the quiet murmur of the little brook, trees sighing in the breeze, and the sunlight filtering through the foliage.To me it is reminiscent of that other garden, where God was happiest walking around with his human friends, enjoying the shabbat – rest. A recent commenter on this blog speaks of his experience in this way, and contrasts this with how religion considers God to be very distant, transcendent in technical terms.

Whatever the first family did to earn their banishment from the garden, it also caused the Creator to be exiled far away from His creation. No more shooting the breeze in the cool of the day, so to speak. He is now experienced as awe-ful, and awe-some. Now even saints like Moses need to cover their face, out of fear.

I’ve heard it said that religion makes sure He stays in His distant heaven, through prayer and meditation.

Perhaps the way back to the garden is by following in the footsteps of that rabbi from Nazareth, of whom it is said that he taught “who sees me, sees the Father”. Perhaps he was fully human, as the expelled first family was intended to be, in that he was completely transparent to God. A true image and likeness. No residue of self. That way we perhaps find to our surprise that God never left His garden.

Neither did we.

Happy Birthday, Edi!