Engaging with Scripture
Scripture teaches us a great deal about home and homelessness. At the beginning of the Bible, Adam and Eve lose their perfect home in the Garden of Eden and have to learn to live in a new, harsher place, and found a new community.
As the history of the people of Israel unfolds, so we find human beings continually being displaced and required to move on. The people of Israel believe in a home given to them by God, a beautiful land, a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’ (Exodus 3.8) which is theirs forever. Yet the occupation of this land and ‘rights’ over it cause nothing but difficulty, and today the same problems of a land to call home tear apart the people of Israel and Palestine as well as other parts of the Middle East, and many other countries where indigenous people have been displaced by settlers and colonists. The Bible is full of natural disasters, war, captivity, wandering and exile. And while in exile, the people of Israel, a displaced people, mourn for their home. In that mourning, we hear the pain of all who are displaced and homeless: refugees, migrants, evicted people, divorced people, rough sleepers, runaways, people who have lost their dreams of finding or coming home , -and don’t know why.
In this home we have created, we listen to voices from Scripture.
Genesis 3. 22-24
Then the Lord God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever’— therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.
- How do you think Adam and Eve felt when they were thrown out of Eden?
- What would Adam and Eve have had to do to survive?
- Imagine a conversation between Adam and Eve immediately after the Fall. What would they need to talk about?
- Imagine how Adam and Eve might have prayed to God after the Fall about their situation.