I was creating some teaching materials last week and came across a beautiful passage from a 17th century preacher, Charles Herle. In this passage (Contemplations and Devotions, pp. 1-4 ), he weaves connections among sweat, blood, the first and second Adam, and two gardens (Eden and Gethsemane).
|In Eden, sold God’s grace for an apple||In Gethsemane, was sold as grace for silver|
|Sweats in drawing produce from the earth because of the curse||Sweats in obeying his Father from heaven because of the curse|
|Causes blood to be shed to cover his nakedness||Gives his blood and nakedness to cover us|
There is a beautiful symmetry to redemptive history, and Herle picks up on it. What happens at the pond’s edge of creation sends ripples into history. And we can trace the arcs of the ripples back to the beginning.
One man traded everything and gained nothing. The other traded nothing and gained everything. One man sweat to pull produce from the ground. The other sweat to put our punishment on his back. One man caused blood to be shed for his own cause. The other shed his blood for the cause of our salvation. One man puffed out his chest with pride in Eden. The other pressed his chest to the grass in Gethsemane.
God, it would seem, loves echoes. He does with history what he wills by calling up sounds from the past and responding to them with songs of the present or future. With God, the roar of hell is met with the whisper of hope. And that whisper grows louder and louder and louder — until all of creation is stilled and silenced before it.
Praise God for his echoing brilliance.