Monday, March 17, 2014

The Story of Our Fraigility!

For Lent I have decided to preach on the Old Testament readings.
During Lent we will be hearing familiar stories from the Old Testament.
The reason I am preaching on them is because I want us during lent to think about our stories.
Stories are important to us.
They are how we order the world.
Stories explain who we are and what we are about.
We use stories to explain ourselves, to explain others, to make sense out of things, and so since the beginning of time humans have used and told stories.
The Bible is made up of a lot of stories.
These stories explain God’s relationship with the world.
I am hoping that through these stories we will be able to
Make sense of our own stories.
We will be able to see God at work in the stories we tell about our lives.

The first story this week is about creation.
There are lots of misunderstandings about this story.
But at the heart of the story is why there are bad things in the world.
Why is there good and evil?
Why is there sin?

For me the most important thing is that the sin of Adam and Eve was not eating the fruit.
The sin happened before they ate the fruit.
It was in them long before that moment.
It was exploited by the serpent.
Their sin was wanting to be like God.
According to the story God put two trees in the garden the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of the good and evil.
Adam and Eve are allowed to eat all they want from the tree of life, and are told not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
What they are tempted with is, “being like God”.
If we have both eternal life and the knowledge of good and evil then we are essentially God.

We miss understand sin in this way often.
We think that sin is about little things that we do.
But what all sin is about is this desire we have to make ourselves God.
It is to put ourselves at the top of the list.
To believe that we can do it all, we can solve every problem, we don’t need help, we don’t need anything but our own hard work and brains.
The story is about this deep truth.
The story is about our need for God.

I said this on Ash Wednesday and it bears repeating this morning that what lent is about is our need for God.
It is not about beating ourselves up because we are “bad people”.
We need to tell our stories about trying to be perfect, and how we failed that led us to rely on God.

I am wondering this morning what your story would be?
When is a time, or times, in your life when you realized that you couldn’t do it all.
Did you ever have a problem that you couldn’t solve?
Did you ever feel that everything was just “too much”?

What Adam and Eve did in the garden is in stark contrast to Jesus.
Jesus was God, but he humbled himself, he became a human and died on a cross.
Jesus is the anti-Adam and Eve because he can’t be tempted to take power, to use power, to play God, to be like God.
Jesus in a sense admits that he needs God.

This week I did some visiting of people that were sick, or dying.
Every time I do that I consider how fragile we all are.
I also know how much we hate being “helpless”.
When someone we love is dying there is really nothing we can do, there is nothing the doctors can do.
That is really hard.
When people are still in the process of fighting for life than there are things we can do.
We can encourage each other, we can send a card, we can make a call, we can love someone.
But when there is nothing to do.
It is hard.
It feels like we have failed.
But we have not failed it is merely what it means to be human.
We don’t live forever, and none of us can do it all despite what we have been led to believe.

This week I read a story by a woman who tries to do it all.
One day she was facing a deadline at work, and it became obvious that she was going to fail to meet that deadline.
In a fit of anger she stomped her foot and end up breaking it.
She describes what led to that moment, “The problem, I knew, was less in my body than it was in my head.
The culprit was that pesky little voice whose sole purpose was convincing me that there was never enough time and I would never get enough done.
It was the voice that urged me to be forever multitasking, that made me skimp on post-workout stretching, that had me constantly thinking about the next thing I had to do, rather than the thing I was doing right now.”
This is one of our problems that we are over programmed and over extended because we want to have it all.
We want to be successful at everything.
We want to be great parents.
We want to be successful at work.
And the truth is that life is not designed for us to be like this.
There are limitations.
I believe God intentionally built in those limitations.
There are only so many hours in a day.
We have only so many limbs.
We have only one body.
We can’t do it all.
That is what makes us human.
If we could be everywhere and do everything then we would be God, and we are not.

What I want to do this morning is give us permission to be human.
In lent we can take solace in the fact that we don’t know everything, we don’t have everything together, and we can’t do it all.
God did not create the world that way.
We are not created that way.
Instead we are left with something much more difficult.
We are left with faith.
We are left having to trust God, and to merely be human.

I invite us to be present in that wonderful truth.
I invite us too be perfectly content to be us, and to let God be God.

And to tell the story of how much God has done for you.
Go and tell the stories of your human fragility, and God’s presence in the midst of that fragility.

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