Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Caretaking, Order: Redemption and the Fall

Adam was put in the garden to tend the garden.  After the Fall, he was consigned to wrestle against the weeds and thorns to pull forth a harvest.  Sin caused his approach, his view to change.  At first, Adam was a caretaker.  He tended to things.  After the fall, more force was necessary.  Weeds to be hacked.  Orderly and forced plantings to be made.  The rules of the game changed -- Adam now had to not merely serve but rather impose his will over the creation -- a creation that was unruly and fought him. 

That was a punishment for sinful man that fit the crime.  Okay, Adam, you don't merely want to receive My care?  Fine - you deal with something as unruly as yourself!

And this twisted the way we view things.  It was a survival response, I suppose.  Rather than seeing things through the lens of caregiving or caring, things became all about order.  About bringing order, imposing order, shaping order.  Our efforts became less and less on caring for the specific individual and more and more on sweeping responses against an ever chaotic world.

Christ comes.  He is the new Adam, Adam as Adam was meant to be.  He is the ultimate caregiver - He is the world's Redeemer.  He brings forth forgiveness by the shedding of His blood - but He does not stop at the mere restoration of order.  Instead, He gives this forgiveness out, personally, to each one.  Here, you are Baptized.  Here, take and eat, this is My Body, given for you.  Shed for you.  For you, for you, for you. 

Gone are the giant, sweeping universal arraignments.  Gone are the attempts to impose order -- Jesus is no new Moses, trying to keep unruly Israelites in line and focused upon God with Law -- there is no new and better Law with more and more specifics designed to micromanage the folks into order.  Nope - simple care.  This is My love for you - you are forgiven.  Oh, you want something to do -- well, you are a caregiver.  Go love your neighbor.  No, I'm not going to be more specific -- you are a caregiver, give care, give love.  Oh, I know you will stink at that while you are in this world - you are forgiven.  You are baptized.  You are mine.  This is My Body, this is My Blood, given and shed for you.

The Fall still clings to us.  We disdain simple forgiveness.  We want to categorize and organize it to death.  We disdain the simple commands to love.  We would rather legislate our neighbor's sin to death than simply forgive them and show them Christ.  We don't trust people to care for their loved ones - we had better organize and make extra rules, apply some order.  And don't forget a bureaucracy - that will keep things in line.  Oh, and we better add just a bit of fear back in, to make sure people toe our lines that we want.

The Fall brought a shift.  We moved from caretakers, caregivers. We became those who imposed order.  And even though we have redemption, that's still how our gut goes.  Not a modicum of order, and certainly not submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ (hmmm... if we follow each other's lead, won't we be on the same page) -- no, more and more regulation, more rules, more things we devise to give the order, the instructions that Jesus just happened to overlook while He was busy with redemption.

But the truth that is truly central is this.  God loves you, and in Christ He forgives you.  Simple and sweet as that.  Without the strings.  Without the order people, even without the order I want to impose.  Christ has died and risen for you, and you have life in Him... not in our attempts to provide order.

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