I’ve never been to the Garden of Eden, that pristine place of paradise where our human story began in God’s generous love of creation--but I’ve been close. Indeed, over the last decade, I was privileged a number of times to make the long journey to the village of Agats in Asmat to assist in leadership work there. And one of the impressive realities that struck me in the heart of that jungle is how it simply encompasses everything as far as the eye can see, and so a connection to some remembrance of the Garden of Eden as the place where God walked upon the earth cannot be ignored. Truly, the jungle of Asmat is large enough still to carry the footsteps of God, just as the expanse of the creation story we heard from the Book of Genesis yet gives plenty of room for our reimagining this immense act of God so as to catch our attention once again.
And it was in this jungle--we know so well, it was in this vast jungle of Asmat that our Br. Clarence found his home. It was in this vast jungle of Asmat that our Br. Clarence found an intimacy of heart with God and with God’s beloved Asmat people living in that place descendant of the Garden of Eden.