September 23, 2012

There are two trees in our garden. The Adam & Eve story is about our choice between them. The "Tree of Life" offers security in Eden. The "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" casts us from Eden and bars the gates. The drama of this story continues today. As long as people play “god” by nibbling from the latter, the world will know chaos, hunger, and strife. In the midst of people continuing to live out their self-enforced exit from Eden, Christ offers a way back in, but we first have to give up our "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" and stop playing "god" over our private little kingdoms. Beautiful poetry in the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, says that when the time comes, "the leaves of the tree will be for the healing of the nations." Why is there so much conflict and hurt in the world; to see it, we have only to watch the evening news. James discerns two kinds of “Wisdom.” "Wisdom from Below" is self-centered. It is full of self-ambition, and creates disorder. "Wisdom from Above" is pure, gentle, and peaceable. It is "willing to yield." It is "without partiality." It is "without hypocrisy." As Mark tells the story, the disciples follow just steps behind Jesus arguing about "which was greater"? Who has done more "good"? For Jesus, this is a red flag. He turns and tells them that anyone who would be great, anyone who wants to lead, must first humble himself or herself and become a servant. The sermon Sunday will be on the ever-so-subtle nuances of humility.