Today is something of the start of the new season in the church. We’re starting Prime Time 2.0 this morning and we also begin the new year of the Narrative Lectionary that we use for the readings each week. So this is just perfect, don’t you think? We start a new season of faith formation and preaching by talking about the fall of humanity from God’s grace. Yay! Anyone else super excited to hear about sin? Again?
I’ve mentioned several times over the past couple of months that we are not God and we are not in charge. Very few people think they’re God but far too many of us think we’re actually in charge of what goes on. And now we know why that is. From very nearly the beginning of creation we’ve chosen to be a disobedient sort of people.
Adam and Eve had one job. Don’t eat that fruit from THIS tree. Anything else you want you go right ahead, eat from the other tree’s to your heart’s content and have a nice day. But not this fruit. Not this fruit from THIS tree. And then they did. They ate the fruit from the tree. They had one job…
And they failed. They failed and exposed their disobedience, our disobedience, for all time.
Everything was fine up until then. They didn’t know good from bad, they only knew good and it was very good. They were blissfully happy there with God in the Garden of Eden. I wonder if this is where we get the idea that ignorance is bliss? In our lives there have certainly been you know, those things we wish we could unsee and un hear. Things we wish we could unknow. But we can’t. Like Adam and Eve, there’s no turning back from what we’ve seen, heard and know. No longer will there be blissful ignorance.
The primary problem with failing their one job and breaking the rule was that breaking the rule, highlighted by the metaphor of eating the fruit, brought in the idea/problem that we can convince ourselves that we know more than God. Which is silly when you think about it but that’s what happened and from that point forward the world became human centered instead of God centered. Thanks Adam and Eve. Thanks a lot.
It still holds pretty much true today, sad to say. The Millenial generation gets a lot of grief for being self-centered and while there can occasionally be some truth to that I’m reasonably certain that it isn’t limited to their generation. I mean, who taught them that skill? No, the problem is far more widespread than one generation. A focus on self is far more common in today’s world than a focus on God.
Which is really great when you think about it. We have some work to do! We have some work to do to Bring Christ’s Love to Life so that a world that has become centered on self has a chance to refocus on God. It is indeed a great calling that we’ve been drawn into.
God sent Christ into the world to bring the focus back to God instead of our own disobedience. The political and religious landscape was complicated in those days, as it is today, and there was a need to get folks to think about God’s desire and will rather than their own. Enter Christ with his message of God’s love and forgiveness and the world was forever changed.
Something the world loses track of occasionally as it becomes easier and more fashionable to ignore God and exalt the self. Which is where we come in. Which is where we come in Bringing Christ’s Love to Life in all those things that we do around here. We fed a bunch of folks at Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach Friday night. We deliver meals every week through Meals on Wheels. We’ve delivered over 2000 shoes through Kicks for Kids. We take food to the Lincoln Lutheran Food Pantry, we take things to Barnabas Community. This is kind of a new one but we’re picking up linens from Tabitha facilities. They’re in good shape but don’t meet some standard or another. Rather than letting them go to the landfill we’re using them for quilting, to prison ministry, to Barnabas and a bunch of others.
You get the idea. It is our work in and with our community that gives people hope. The Jesus is my co-pilot T-shirts, the Honk if you love Jesus bumper stickers, the share If Jesus is your savior Facebook posts don’t have much effect on people and what they think of Christ. But feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner and healing the sick absolutely do.
We may be broken and disobedient people but we don’t have to stay there. We can go into the world and Bring Christ’s Love to Life.