In the beginning, God determined to grow fruit in his Garden. Fruit of the tree and the vine, the land and the womb. He intended that fruit to be beautiful, luscious and pleasing, fertile and filling.

But the best fruit of the Garden—the most anticipated fruit—was the fruit he planned to grow from the limbs of his children, the sons and daughters he had created in his own image. That fruit was to be relational and become both the means to and the evidence of that most fundamental characteristic of God himself—AGAPE love. God intended for us to live in intimate and loving communion with him, ourselves, our closest companions (family, church), the people of the world, and the created order.

All his intentions hit the wall, however, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and invited sin into the Creation. At the Fall, we were separated from God, alienated from ourselves, hidden from those who ought to know us best, hostile towards the stranger, and out of step with the material order God had made. In a moment, our relationships were broken … our most beautiful fruit was stymied and soured.

So God decided to send his Son, Jesus Christ—the man empowered to put broken relationships back together again. In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus reconciled us to the Father, set peace within our hearts, showed us how to love our families and churches, tore down dividing walls with the world, and taught us to live in God’s creation without greed or waste. In his teachings—and, particularly, in his life and death—Jesus demonstrated the transforming power of AGAPE love and gave us the power to practice that love in the context of our formerly broken relationships.

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