The night is old. The silver moon stands high in the sky as the wind blows a gentle rustle through the long grass. My eyes close and I begin to dream.
I dream of a garden. I’ve never seen it before, but deep in my heart I remember it and it wakes an ancient longing in my soul.
The air is cool and still. Nothing stirs the leaves on the boughs and the grass lies full and thick underfoot. The silence is complete.
From somewhere deep in the garden, the Father comes. The branches part and sway in respect. The grass whispers quiet praise and the ground trembles with joy.
A Man emerges. His step is gentler, though no less majestic. Light comes from him and caresses him, rejoicing at his presence: the Son.
And now the trees truly begin to move and their leaves rustle and shift as if stirred by a powerful wind. The Spirit comes.
Now the gathering is complete. The air is no longer still, but full of life and humble cries of adoration. The garden cannot help but worship. Yet something is missing.
The Father speaks. “It is so empty. This is not how I created the garden to be.” His great heart is aching for runaway Adam.
There is a long silence, then the Spirit stirs. “I hear them crying, moaning, dying without hope. They toil away endless, empty, Godless hours and sink into the dust.” He whispers out of respect for human suffering.
Silence falls again. The worship changes, is more subdued. Creation waits with dread. Something terrible is to come, but it does not know what.
At last the Son lifts his head. His voice is soft, but determined. “I will go. I will become like Adam and live among them and I will free them from their useless striving and their sinking down into dust. I will bring them back.”
The Father sighs. In that sigh, Creation hears some of the horror to follow and shudders in revulsion. “Go, my Son. Bring your brothers back to me.”
They depart and the garden is yet again still, but this time tense, watchful of the drama unfolding below on the barren deserts of men.
The feeble cry of an infant rises from the dry plains. The garden barely recognizes the voice of their Creator. “Can this be?” the trees ask each other in wonder. “Has God truly become man?”
Below, long years pass. The infant grows into a child, the child into a man. The flowers whisper the Son’s new name among themselves: Jesus. Even more astonishing is this: the Son of Man.
The garden smiles as it hears the praises of the Son. “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“It took them long enough,” the trees say, “but it looks like Adam has finally learned the truth.” They lean forward, eager for the majesty of God to be revealed.
No! Father, no! The garden itself writhes in agony as the strokes of the whip fall heavy on the beloved Son’s back. “Father,” they cry, “why?”
“It is the only way,” he says sadly.
“No,” they beg as cruel nails are driven into the hands that shaped man from clay. “There must be something else. Adam isn’t worth this!”
“Just watch,” the Father tells them. “It isn’t over yet. Adam will know how much I love him.”
Darkness falls as the sun of the garden is laid in the cold stone grave. Creation weeps that the eternal Son should know death.
“Father,” the tiniest flower whispers. “You must really love Adam.”
A day passes. Two. The garden aches with a wound that will never heal; an emptiness that will never be filled.
“Now watch,” the Father says. “I told you it wasn’t over.”
The giant stone is rolled away from the tomb. The sun dawns. The Son walks forth in glorious splendor. The garden applauds. Adam lifts his head a little beneath his heavy yoke as the chains binding him come free.
The Son returns to the garden and walks again amongst the adoring boughs. The grass marvels at the holes in his feet. The bushes gently brush his hands.
“Didn’t it hurt to die?” the tiny flower wonders.
“Yes, little one. Death is a terrible thing.”
“But then tell me,” she blushes, the question seems very bold, “why did you do it?”
“Only by taking Adam’s death could I give him my life. By bearing the curse, I lifted it from him.”
“But you didn’t stay dead?”
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life!” he laughs, every bit of him glowing with the vibrancy of living. “There is no grave that can hold Life and no curse that can overcome Truth and certainly no stone that can block the Way.”
“Holy Lord,” the flower cries happily, “how great and wonderful is your love! It is beyond understanding.”
Just then, accompanied by a gust of Spirit, there enters into the garden a creature not seen there for many centuries: Adam.
He looks hesitantly at the Son before shuffling forward until he’s standing before the Father. He bows, trembling, and waits. Silence.
“Father,” he says finally. “I was wrong. I disobeyed you the moment I took the fruit and I’ve been disgracing your name ever since. I’m- I’m sorry. I don’t deserve anything, but please, please Father…”
The Father stands. He smiles and opens his arms. “Welcome home, son.” Ashamed at his own dirt, Adam stares at his feet. The Father sweeps him into a divine embrace.
The garden begins to fade, pulling back into a splash of green. The night returns around me. The moon is now sinking low. The light of dawn is on the horizon.
Before the rising sun, framed by its golden rays, stands a cross, a message from God to men: I still love you.