The Jewish scriptures open with a story of the origin of the earth and its first human residents, a man and woman who ultimately would choose to deliberately disobey their Creator. When he was confronted with his choice, the man turns around and blames one who made him “The woman you gave me!” The man directly puts the blame on God. Ultimately, the transgression was pride. They wanted to answer to no one but themselves.
Nothing much is changed in the course of history. We still want to steer our own ship. I’m sure that has got you in more trouble than anything else in your life. I know it has in mine. I do what I want to do. Sometimes it’s for good, but other times it’s simply for my own benefit or for spite. It still boils down to pride. We still have a desire to eat from the tree of that damned fruit.
I have worked in churches for nearly 40 years. I have volunteered in churches much longer. I have never lost a church job until now. I have lost plenty of other jobs due to poor choices, mainly my choice of words. Still, I thought that my calling was untouchable, especially as I approached my retirement years. Once again, that tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (note that it was both good and evil), was also tempting. I made choices, some of the poor. And now, I must live with the consequences. Those consequences do not just affect me.
We have been in the same gathering of believers for 21 years now. It has become our support system and our most significant local friend group. Our life group has been together for at least 19 years. We’ve watched our kids go through junior high, high school, college, marriages, some divorces, grandchildren, tragedy, and triumph. We will definitely stay a part of that small group. As for the church, that’s up in the air at the moment. It is definitely a difficult time in the Hamilton household.
Suppose you’ve never read the Chronicles of Narnia. In that case, I will not give away the secret that you will discover in The Magicians Nephew, but suffice it to say you learn something significant about how the wardrobe came into existence wood it was carved from. In the same way, I would not at all be surprised to find that the cross of history was hewn from the wood of the tree that Jesus was murdered on. The very thing that produced that dammed fruit is what God uses to give us life.