Daughters of Eve

Yesterday I lingered in front of a woman made of bronze,
A Rodin sculpture, dark and lovely, standing in a museum of art.
The placard named her Eve After the Fall, and so she stood,
Arms crossed over her breasts, head bowed, beautiful still in her shame.

I was moved by her rounded body, her palpable, pulsing anguish,
By the grief that swells in me, too, at the end of this year—
A year of great beauty and opportunity, a year of great upheaval and loss.
And I wonder, dear Eve: why does it end not with a bang but a whimper?

Oh sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, there is room here for lament.
The knowledge of good and evil is too much for us.
We have thought ourselves gods, wise and powerful,
And stand guilty of cruel words and such unspeakable deeds.

Yet as I look at lovely Eve, her head hung in remorse and sorrow,
I long to cry, “Look up, friend! There is a chance to begin again.”
Oh sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, there is room here, too, for hope.
Even the wailing prophet of Lamentations wraps his arms around this truth:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."


Tomorrow marks a new year and a new birth-day for me.
After thirty-three orbits around the Sun, I am no longer innocent—
Like Eve I have chosen to take what is not mine to take,
To speak what is not mine to speak, and to hang my head in regret.

Like Eve I am created and sustained by the breath of a God who loves me.
And long after the deed is done he keeps calling for me, searching for me.
Gently he speaks to me of redemption—of the second Adam, who has come,
Of the light that dawns upon our darkness.

And so this night I lift my head and pray a prayer of Carter Heyward, who wrote,

Holy God, we have left undone those things
Which we ought to have done,
And we have done those things
Which we ought not to have done.

Yet, by thy grace, there is health in us!

In thy mystery, carry us on.
As we bring unity and joy, humble us.
As we bring division and pain, forgive us.
In our struggling, strengthen us.
In our stumbling, lift us.
When we weep, comfort us.
When we laugh, enjoy us. Amen.


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