Our Nakedness

Now that Spring is here and many of us are already changing our cloths over to lighter wear, I invite you to cast off your shoes and wander with me awhile in the Garden of Eden.

What did we actually lose that day when Adam and Eve ate of the now famous forbidden fruit?

 Parau na te Varua ino.  Paul Gauguin. (Words of the Devil), 1892, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Parau na te Varua ino.
Paul Gauguin. (Words of the Devil), 1892, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

The French Post- Impressionist Paul Gauguin, spent a lifetime in search of his perfect Garden of Eden living in turn: Martinique, Tahiti, and the Marquesas Islands. He seemed to be searching for his own personal paradise and trying to capture it on canvas. Gauguin challenges our western idea of beauty and brings to our attention his personal ideas of man’s innocent origins. Living as participant and observer among these more primitive people, Gauguin reminds us of a time when Adam and Eve lived in harmony with nature.

In this painting, he re-imagines Eve as a young Tahitian girl in the moment of her shame as the forest seems to be closing in on her and surrounding her in darkness.

Since Eve was already naked, what had changed in her awareness?

Eve’s shame came when she realized she was naked and vulnerable. Because of Satan’s lies, she began to fear the possibility that God may not have her best intentions. In their disobedience, Adam and Eve lost their unconditional trust of God.

Until recently, I had never really considered Gauguin’s spirituality. Since he lived a life of questionable morality, I had always admired his paintings from a distance. Consider inspite of that the value of an artist who takes you to the edge of beauty and innocence and asks you to imagine it as your own reality…What would you have done?

When do we feel vulnerable and stripped of our confidence? We all feel the hurt of accusing voice from time to time. And when we do, can we go to God and allow him to pick us up and wipe away our tears?

Lovely to discover in Gauguin yet another artist who worked to illuminate our thoughts by a blending of sacred symbols with universal themes found in all cultures.

If you are hurting or struggling this week, I encourage you to read Psalm 124 and remind yourself all the times God has delivered you from evil.

If the Lord had not been on our side…when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; the flood would have engulfed us,…the raging waters would have swept us away. 

Praise be to the Lord…Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Peace be with you!

p.s. Also came across a new recording artist this week. Agnethe Christensen is a marvelous blend of medieval songs mixed with instruments from non-western cultures. Her newest album Ljus i Morker –Light in Darkness is featured here:

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