The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21 (NIV)
It’s a brief moment in the story of this first Garden, but it’s a tremendously important one. We understand it more when we read the context of the covering made for Adam and Eve a few verses previously in the Creation account:
The man and the woman were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Genesis 2:25 (NIV)
They felt no shame.
It’s a powerful thought, isn’t it? For most of us, our lives have been tainted by shame, whether from our own actions or those of others.
This scripture isn’t making the point that they weren’t ashamed of being naked, it’s making the point that they felt no shame because there was nothing to be ashamed of. They were naked because they didn’t need to cover themselves. Indeed, the very concept of shame was unknown because they hadn’t yet allowed sin to enter their world.
It’s always important to remember that God made humanity to live in a Garden of paradise, without shame, completely connected to Him in absolute love for eternity.
Anything less than that is less than who were dreamt to be by God.
Adam and Eve needed no covering because they had nothing to hide until sin and shame entered the story through their choices.
But God loved Adam and Eve so much that He didn’t leave them in their shame. He made them a covering.
Now the garments of skin came God made for them had to come from an animal. And this is the moment death first enters the story of the first Garden. An animal died so that Adam and Eve could cover their shame.
In our lives, we can all know things we wish we could cover. We all know the places we’ve failed and we carry the scars and pain… so we try to cover it ourselves.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for us to realise that we can’t truly cover our shame, so we try to numb the shame, or ignore it, or just pretend it doesn’t exist, and we sink deeper into our secret history, lost without any hope of freedom.
But even here in the very first Garden, God was making a way for us to be restored. Even then, God was making a covering for shame. It would be costly. It would mean death. It surely broke His heart when one of His glorious, innocent creations lost its life because of the actions of others, but He loved the man and woman He’d made above all else.
He’s still the same loving Father.
It was that relentless love that sent Jesus to us, to live as one of us, but without a moment of shame, because He never did anything to be ashamed of. Jesus never needed a covering; instead He would become the final covering of all of our sin and shame at the cross.
That journey to the cross was long and arduous, but the death that occurred there for us, to cover for our sin and shame, is not the end of Easter. In fact, it’s the journey that opens us to the real story… that His resurrection means that we can live free, alive in His love, without shame as we walk in His grace.
Easter is a journey to the cross. But, most of all, Easter is the story of the Resurrection.
As we journey together towards the morning where we celebrate His glorious triumph over the grave, remember that, though this story does have a horrible wrenching death, it’s above all a story of extraordinary love and life.
Yes, we journey the cross. In fact, we must journey the cross and embrace it with Him.
But thank God, we live in His Resurrection!
In that first Garden, the first death covers the shame of Adam and Eve. It is a glimpse of the moment in all of our stories when the real Hero would finally appear, wrestling Death itself to the ground, and then emerge victorious from the grave, covering all with His love eternal.
Easter means we get to live in the light of His love and His wondrous life, joining again the Divine Dance we were created to share.