In the cool of the day

In the cool of the day, we would walk together
In the garden, by the river: the Lord, and Adam and me
In the cool of the day

His voice came to me from across a great gulf
Distorted and strange, though familiar
He said, “Where are you?”

I answered: my eyes are opened, I see that I am a stranger
To myself, to my lover, to my Lord
I’m ashamed, ’cause I’m naked; I’m afraid, so I’m hiding
From myself, from my lover, from you, my Lord

In the cool of the day… in the cool of the day

I’m still fleeing, withdrawn and defensive
Still keeping my distance from everyone, but
I’m so lonely

I’m still fleeing from the garden where I walked with God
But in his grace, I know he’s leading my steps
And I’ll walk with him again —
In the cool of the day

© 2005 Marcy Prochaska, all rights reserved.

This is a song I first started working on several years ago and just finished this year. I’m going to be singing it during an upcoming performance at a coffeehouse in Vermont.

The classic Christian definition of sin is “separation from God.” Since sin has its root in the Garden of Eden, I thought it would be interesting to wonder how Eve might have experienced this sudden sense of separation. Hence the perception that God’s voice sounds like it’s coming from across a chasm, familiar enough to be recognized, but distorted and strange.

Skeptics have mocked God’s question, “Where are you?” as contradicting his alleged omniscience. But it’s not a fact-finding question, asked in ignorance, but a relational question. It’s God calling attention to the separation that has taken place, taking the first step to a return to the relationship.

I think the separation from God causes other separations. From others, so that there can now be quarrels, and envy, and misunderstanding, and all sorts of other social woes. And from oneself, so that there can be such things as identity crises, confusion, lack of purpose, and other pyschological woes. All these things feed on one another, so that we run from intimacy and yet grieve for our loneliness.

God is in the business of redemption. He sent Jesus to heal the separation between us and himself. Even while we’re running away from him, he leads our steps back to his door. I think the more we experience the healing of our separation from God, the more we’ll also experience redemption in our psychological and social troubles.

A final note… I’m not trying to dismiss the idea of sin and guilt… but the focus of this song is on the separations that are sin’s most tragic consequences.