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Is That It? January 5, 2015

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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There’s a litany of life and death in Genesis 5.  To me it’s kind of an abridged history that gets us from Adam (“The Man”) to Noah (“Rest” or “Consolation”).  They lived hundreds of years back then, not the measly 70 or 80 we get in the modern era.  Sure, a few exceptional people get to 120.  But everybody dies.  Genesis 5 reads that a guy was born, he lived a few years, he had a son, he lived a few more years and had sons and daughters, and he died.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  I’ve never liked geneologies, especially when presented like that.  Sorry, It’s the kind of repetitious roll call that bored the kids to sleep in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”  ZZZZzzzzzzzzz!  You can see that online I think, look for Ben Stein’s hilariously deadpan delivery.  He’s bored too.  Maybe you’ve not heard of Ferris Bueller, but you can get the same kind of experience hearing Reverend Lovejoy reading on “The Simpsons.”  Except, in Genesis 5, there are exceptions that should wake us up to alert us:  Look carefully, something is different here!

I’m asleep long before getting to verse 21 here, so getting through to verse 24 is a minor miracle, but I did it.  And it’s different.  Everyone else was born, lived a while, had a son, lived a while more having sons and daughters, and then died, but not Enoch.  After a year of years spent “walking with God,” there was no more Enoch.  Hebrew says “and he (Enoch) is walking (with) Elohim, and there is no him. Elohim took him.”

Nobody else, before or since, has gotten that treatment except Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11.  Read that and see if your inner geek doesn’t yell, “HOLY RODDENBERRY!” at you.  If it doesn’t, I’d question your geekdom.

Sunday my attention was drawn to the description of the Christian ritual of communion in I Corinthians 11.

26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.

I bet nobody reads this like I read it Sunday.  Made me not want to take communion.  How do we sinners rate the right to participate?  If we’re wrong, we fall under judgement, become weak and sickly, maybe even DIE?

Christ followers are not supposed to be weak and sickly.  We are supposed to be “given a spirit …of power, of love, and of a sound mind.”  (II Timothy 1:7)  We are supposed to be doing the things Jesus did, and “greater things than these.” (John 14:12)  So what was Jesus doing?  Oh, nothing much.  Teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven.  Calling people to repent (turn away) from their sin and follow Him.  Oh, and healing the sick, and lame, and blind, and mute, and freeing the demon possessed, and raising the dead.  And what are we doing today?  None of the above.  There’s a verse in there that says the best thing we can do for people is love them, and prophesies that certain sign-manifestations will not be seen, but that people should hold on to faith, hope and love.  You might have read that or heard it read at a wedding.  I Corinthians 13 is very popular.  But it’s an indictment just like the verses about communion in chapter 11.  Just for me, I think it’s a Christian Cop-Out explaining why I’m not doing what Jesus said “anyone who believes” in him would do.  Other Christ Followers avoid the issue saying that building a mega church or doing a mission or some good work for Jesus IS one of those “greater things.”  And maybe it is.  Or maybe not.

Some people think the Bible is all lovey-dovey, and indeed passages like John’s writings (including First John) are like that in some places.  They wonder why Christ followers aren’t more loving (translate:  tolerant of people who flaunt their sins before God).  Readers who think that haven’t read very carefully.  And if we question their agenda, they then go to some minor detail of a book written to the nation of Israel and ask why we don’t subscribe to every jot and tittle of the Old Testament Law. (See Romans 6, which by the way is New Testament, written to Christ Followers).  Wait, wait.  I thought you weren’t wanting to nit-pick the details about it and just telling me to be more loving.  “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable (II Timothy 3:16),” but only when handled properly (II Timothy 2:15).  Rant over, back to topic.

Why don’t Christ Followers do what He said?  I can think of a few reasons.  But only about me and my spiritual life.  The main one is, I’m not very spiritual.  I don’t follow Him well.  My health and power are directly proportional to my spirituality, by which I mean how well I’m connected to Jesus/Elohim/The Spirit of God.  So reason 1 is, I’m powerless to act because I can’t even do the baby steps.  I think most Christ Followers would admit their sins, at least in their minds, silently alone before God.  “Mistakes?  I’ve made a few,” when “I did it my way.”  If I’m not walking with God, I can’t expect any real power.

The second reason is I don’t know how it’s done.  I’ve seen prayers answered in my lifetime.  I’ve even seen MY prayers answered.  But they weren’t answered in my timing or in accord with my expectation.  And I’ll confess, it’s been a while.  The crises of my life have become the crises of faith, because I’m doing it wrong.  Not that I’m in any kind of huge trouble, just that I have things that aren’t being resolved according to my schedule.

I think there are too many factors I don’t understand.  I just trust that God is in charge and He’s going to do what He’s going to do.  I have little say in the matter.  My thoughts are not His thoughts, means my concerns don’t concern Him.  What I think is a “need,” (here read Philippians 4:19) maybe isn’t really a “need.”  It sure would be nice to be on the same page with God, agreeing with Him, walking with Him.  If enough of us were doing that, maybe we would see the “greater things.”  Maybe my concerns are tiny things, and He wants me to focus on Him, and the greater things He wants in me first, and the rest of the little things will follow.  Maybe “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness” is enough for me to strive toward.

God, is that it?  And if it is, would You show me again how to “seek?”  Without worrying?

If we Christ-followers do get it right, will anyone see fiery chariots?  If they do, I bet the psychiatrists will prescribe anti-hallucinogenic medications.  And they won’t talk to the local law enforcement to corroborate the missing persons report.  Because that would violate doctor-patient privilege.

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