Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get Up, Dust Off, Jump Back In

Often I am overwhelmed by the sense that other people are so much better at following Jesus than I am. All the disciplines I set out to keep in my life eventually go by the wayside. My most common response is to over correct and add more to the plate. As you might guess this causes the failure to only feel greater. Having said that, I am once again getting up, dusting off and jumping back into the year long scripture journey. This time around I am not coupling it with reading through the Bible in 90 days, I am engaged for the long haul and hopefully for some deeper reflection. So here goes.

Matthew 1:1-17
I have often wondered if the editors of the Bible had an understanding what makes a book interesting. In the Old Testament we start off with Genesis. the creation story is nice, but all to quickly the reading gets a little more difficult. The New Testament is no exception. Page 1, Matthew and a genealogy. Why would you start with that? The Book of Mark leaves all that out, why not use that as the lead? Perhaps it has to do with understanding Jesus did not simply break into our world in some obscure way. It is important to see the deep connection with Israel all the way back to Abraham. When I say Israel, I do not mean the nation state we see today. I mean the people of God, the chosen. Long before they had a land they were Israel. Jesus the Son of God, also the son of David and the son of Abraham. You know Abraham, the one who was promised more children than sand on the shores. The one who would be blessed to be a blessing. Yeah he is part of the family tree. The opening of Matthew, once you get past the names, is important in reminding us that Jesus is the continuing work of God among the people in effort to restore our relationship to God. The hope is we will once again be the Kingdom people.

Acts 1:1-11
The death and resurrection has happened and now we are getting the account of the movement of believers. In the midst of uncertainty, and a desire to flea from Jerusalem for their lives the believers are told to sit and wait for what God has promised. The gift of the Holy Spirit is coming and when they receive it, the work of God will go into full swing as the rest of the redemption story is written. Jesus is taken up into the clouds and the disciples are left standing looking up. Angels appear and wonder why they were looking at the sky and not doing what Jesus had said. I wonder how often we are gazing at the sky wondering what will happen when we simply need to follow the instructions of our leader, Jesus.

Psalm 1
The contrast of good and wicked is front and center here is this first Psalm. The good will be like a tree planted by the water, fruitful and pleasant. The wicked will not they will perish. The indirect teaching is follow the paths of righteousness and keep from wickedness. Goodness is found in our relationship with God and the actions that relationship produces. When we rest in God, or plant our lives in God, we will be like the fruitful tree. When we plant our lives in places other than God, we will perish. Where are you planting your life?

Genesis 1 and 2
I have always wondered why there were two stories of creation. As best we can tell until Adam, there was not one there to take notes, or take pictures, or place the happenings of Facebook or Twitter. So how is it there are two stories about the same unseen event? I could bore us to tears about the different groups of people who were contributing the writing of the Old Testament. It took nearly a semester to cram a two day lecture into my brain. Our first account is has more detail, the second is almost the readers digest version. No matter, two stories does not change the overall story. There was nothing, God acted and there was creation. To this day the debate rages about the details. There are the seven literal days folks, who say the earth, Adam and Eve were created in literal 24 hour periods. There are those who say the "day" was a time period which could have been millions of years. Still others think the whole thing is foolishness. I would like to leave room to say that day one described in Genesis might have been the Big Bang. We know that God created, it does not say how creation happened.

Anyway. The point is not how long and exactly what happened. What matters is God created and entered into relationship with that which was created. Man and woman, land, sea and sky all were created and entered into relationship with. Eden was created and Adam was assigned the task of working the garden. The parameters for life were given, eat anything except from this one tree. Creation, humanity and God lived in perfect relationship. There was no shame, and life was as the creator intended. Too bad the story continues.

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