Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Spiral is Unbroken

There are so many people who think that God has changed, or that the Old Testament talks about a different God than the New Testament. They couldn't be more wrong. God has always been about being in relationship with us, and has always given the same guideline - believe in Him and walk with Him.

Now, people interpret these things differently sometimes, but I don't think there are that many different ways to look at it. God has always been gracious - even Deuteronomy tells us that He loves to reach out to the alien. Isaiah talks about the Gentiles being included in the plan all along. And the New Testament is all about finishing the work He started, giving us a mediator who knows what it is to BE us, and who succeeded where we failed. Hebrews says that God, therefore, can deal gently with us.

We have ever been meant to walk in His steps, to be like Him. And the promise of life has ever been the same.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Spiral Peeled

When God created humans, He created them to have fellowship with Him. They were created innocent, sinless, and in complete communion with Him. He gave them a home - the Garden of Eden, and a job - to tend it.

He gave them two commands: Be fruitful and multiply, and stay away from the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." I have a few questions about this.

First, why is everyone always talking about the fruit being an apple? We don't really know what it was. Could have been kiwi or mango. But that isn't all that important I suppose.

Second, was there some magical property in the fruit of that tree to open the eyes of Adam and Eve? Or was it the simple act of disobedience to the One who made them and had given them everything that made them see sin and shame, and experience the fact that sin ruins our relationships with God, creation, ourselves, and others? I do not think the fruit had any magical properties. I think it was in the act of disobedience that their eyes were opened.

How they must have felt. To have never known shame, and now to know it so well. To have forever ruined the perfect relationship of trust between themselves and their Creator. Need a picture of that? Has a friend ever broken a trust? Something is different afterwards, isn't it? No matter what you do, things cannot ever be the same. We grew up with this. But Adam and Eve were the first ones to ever feel that, and, in fact, are the reason we all feel it. One time they disobeyed the command, and the whole thing unraveled.

Now, my last question is why even put that tree there? I mean, here was a perfect garden, a perfect pair of humans, perfect communion, with a command that, if disobeyed, would ruin it all! Why take the chance?

Because without free will, we would have been automatons in communion. God wants us to love Him by choice. He loves us enough, as the poem goes, to "let us go." We have the choice to come back to Him. And that makes our communion all the sweeter.

How sweet it will be when we get back to the garden, and God opens to us the tree of life.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bonhoeffer and Hebrews 2

This morning I was reading "Life Together" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He talked about the fact that the Kingdom of God is built and lived right in the midst of His enemies. While we were still sinners, says Romans, Christ died for us. We were enemies of God, and Jesus came and lived among us, became like us, so that he became the perfect author of our faith.

Then I was reading Hebrews 2. Verse 10 says that Jesus, the author of our faith, was made perfect through suffering. He will bring us to glory, but it was through suffering that He is able to do it.

How do these tie together? I am not totally cemented in my thinking yet, but let me give it a shot.

We are going to suffer in this life. It is how we live with this, how we live above it, that will show those who do not yet belong to God who we are. Building His kingdom, building His community here, will mean suffering. But we are "sown among the nations" to show God's character. And eventually, He will gather us in again completely, even as He has already gathered us in spiritually. This is part of why community is so important. If we share our suffering with another, our suffering is halved. And our joy at making it through is doubled!

Now, I say all this at a time when I am experiencing little pain and no real suffering. I just hope I can remember it later. But isn't that all part of being on the spiral?

Monday, February 07, 2005

The First Step onto the Blog Spiral

There is something to be said for the idea that the human learning curve is like a spiral staircase. Over the course of our lives, we seem to cover similar issues from different angles at different times. Hopefully, as we progress up the spiral, we get a better understanding, deeper picture, fresh perspective.

Learning to live out our faith is a lifelong pursuit. Living it out in community requires a readiness to share our lives and our thoughts. We must have people we trust with whom we can travel the road home.

I have no idea how often I will write articles for this blog. But as I learn, I want to share. My thoughts, stories, and lessons may help someone on their journey. Since we are all in this together, why not help each other along?