Monday, March 03, 2008

Pentecost 70ish Days early: Mud Pies and Hot Air

Read Genesis 2:4-7

What is it about Spring that we love so much?  You know I like autumn and summer, and sometimes winter, when the snow has just fallen and everything is so white . . . but spring is just such a sigh of relief after being cold and wet and rainy for months.  Even when it’s still kind of nippy outside, and you still have to wear a jacket, you can smell spring in the air, like nothing else.  You know exactly when the season changes when it’s spring. 

In fact, if you walk down any bath and beauty

 isle, spring is what they sell – read some of the labels and brands of bath gel, soap, shampoo, etc.

I don’t think it’s an accident that we celebrate one of the most important day of the Christian year in the spring.  

In fact, the day we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection is timed to go along with the season itself.  Easter actually means “spring.”  We use eggs and bunnies and flowers to remind ourselves of what the celebration is about – new life, growth, a fresh start.

I wonder if it was always spring in the Garden?  You know . . . plants always growing and flowering.  Fresh, clean smells.  Water keeping the grass and plants lush and beautiful.  And if this is the world that we lived in, why don’t we live in it now? 

I think you know the answer to that question: Adam and Eve.  Now these were the creatures that we just read about.  The creation that he first thought about when he went out to the riverbed to make mud pies.  His fingernails full of mud, there was a crust of dirt all the way up to his elbows.  He had formed these riverbeds in the early days of

 his creation after He separated the waters above from the waters below. Then he had pooled those waters below into oceans and seas and lakes and flowing rivers.  What was left was sticky, goopy and brown.  He remembered that when he started shaping the mud into human form.

God was getting warm with all this work, and he stared up into the sun that he had created just a few days ago.  It baked the mud and caused a warm breeze to make the

 river sparkle.  God wasn’t finished.

The body lay limp by the river, all wet and slimy, until God came over and held the man’s head in his hands and did the first CPR ever.  

The breath of God filled the man’s lungs up like a balloon and then God took his muddy fingers and gently squeezed his chest.

God had put a little bit of himself into the man.  Not that he would be God, himself, but that he would take the same pleasure in playing the mud or in being warmed by the sun as God the Creator himself did.  He wanted something, someone to share his pleasure with and that someone would need to have that ability to smile like God, to talk like God, to respond to creation like his creator. Being made of the earth itself and alive now because of God’s own breath, God figured that this man, and very soon the woman, would be his comp

anions in this new creation of His.  They could reflect his pleasure and his affection for his creatures in the world.

But His final and most daring act of creation was actually the ones who messed everything up.  You see, God had created something very special within them. He put something of himself in them.  And it was something so unique, so different, so dangerous that despite such beautiful surroundings and a perfect relationship with God, they said, “No!”

Instead they looked at themselves in the mirror and said “Yes  - we can do this on our own.  We don’t need God to be like him . . . “

But what would we see in a mirror if there were no face looking into it? What happens to the image in the mirror when the lights are turned off? There is no i

mage, no reflection.  The image of himself that God had created in us was distorted, changed, marred when we said “No” to him.

This is Bad News.

Like the paintings that Pastor Evan showed last night, God’s image in us becomes water damaged, cracked and stained.  The things in this world, like sin, wear us down to where or thoughts, our attitudes our selves don’t look anything like what God created us to be.  We need the artist to come back and restore His image upon us.

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Have you ever tried to see these images?  The secret to seeing them is not to look at the picture, but to look through it.  Here’s a couple designs . . . can you tell what these images are?

This is God’s image in us.  He not only restores his image in us so that we reflect Him in the world, but we also look at the world differently as well.  We see it with new eyes, as his creation, deserving on respect, compassion, even love.  And it’s not really something that we’ll immediately see by looking at the surface of things . . . God imbedded this image deep within us and when he restores His image he gives us eyes that can see beyond the surface of things.

This is the Good News.

Remember the Fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindnes, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control?  These don’t happen because were good at these things.  Their not personality traits – we’re not born with any of these things.  In fact, because Adam – so many years ago, said “No” to God, these fruit don’t grow in us naturally.  What they do is show a restored image in us.  When we bear these fruit in our lives – by showing kindness to others, be being gentle, by encouraging peace with our parents, friends, etc., choosing to do the right thing and exercising self-control over behaviors that can harm us – we exhibit the Artist’s restoration of our painting. 

God is the one who is kind and gentle, patient and faithful.  If we can reflect those things we are who we are supposed to be.

Remember, this is Good News, because it God’s Holy Spirit that makes this happen.  If you can think of things right now in your life that has not been kind, or gentle or loving, or good, know that at some point you have said “No” to God.  You’ve tried to create an image on your own, and you realize that it is not what you have been created to be.

Know, also, that God, through His own Spirit, is ready and able, to restore His image within you.   


Eric said...

That brick wall picture looks like a big cluster to me.

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