Tag Archives: Adam

Advent and Christmas

Long time no blog.

Yet another family crisis (how many can there be in one year I wonder to myself!) has rather occupied my life for the last three weeks –

BUT in that time, people have been beavering away on my behalf and I am delighted and quite excited to announce (cue fanfares, streamers, glitter explosions etc…)

2015-09-14 16.04.19

I have been encouraged to produce some of the reflections from this blog into a book, and decided to start with this collection of reflections for Advent and Christmas.  They are not new, but reworked for print.

Voices for Advent and Christmas contains 24 prayers and meditations on the familiar voices of the Christmas Story, from Adam through to Rachel weeping.  It covers the traditional readings of the Nine Lessons and Carols Service, plus others through to Jesus Presentation in the Temple.

It would work as a resource for worship, or as personal reflections to prepare ourselves in this busy season.

There has been a delay at the printers, but I hope it will be available later this week.

The price is £4 plus postage (70p second class within the UK, for other prices please ask)

To order or ask more please complete the form below and I can give you details for paying and you can give me your address.  Payment can be made via paypal or by sending me a cheque.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged and cajoled me into this 🙂  And for anyone who is willing to buy one

 

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Standing in the Way

It can be amazing the influence one person can have on someone else’s life.   Someone can be saved from themselves, or led entirely astray by one persons actions in their life.

Romans 5:12-19 (CEV)

Adam and Christ

12 Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world. Now everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die. 13 Sin was in the world before the Law came. But no record of sin was kept, because there was no Law. 14 Yet death still had power over all who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. This happened, though not everyone disobeyed a direct command from God, as Adam did.

In some ways Adam is like Christ who came later. 15 But the gift that God was kind enough to give was very different from Adam’s sin. That one sin brought death to many others. Yet in an even greater way, Jesus Christ alone brought God’s gift of kindness to many people.

16 There is a lot of difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gift. That one sin led to punishment. But God’s gift made it possible for us to be acceptable to him, even though we have sinned many times. 17 Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what Jesus Christ has done. God has been so kind to us, and he has accepted us because of Jesus. And so we will live and rule like kings.

18 Everyone was going to be punished because Adam sinned. But because of the good thing that Christ has done, God accepts us and gives us the gift of life. 19 Adam disobeyed God and caused many others to be sinners. But Jesus obeyed him and will make many people acceptable to God.

If we look at all the things we have got wrong, collectively and individually, then it would be fair to say that humanity is going to the dogs – or perhaps more appropriately going to hell in a handcart.  Basically and fundamentally, we are stuffed, in trouble.  As we read the action of one man and one woman, we see human beings stepping away from God’s intention and making the world something it was never meant to be – including going against God’s instructions.

God tried again to show his people what he wanted of them, the best ways to live – and that didn’t go any better.  Still people thought that it didn’t matter or that they knew better.  Some people got it, but generally, it was all going very wrong.

The actions of one man (and one woman), brought to the world the possibility of sin, disobeying God, and from that moment on every person who followed seized on it.

The total opposite of this was Jesus.  He was the one person who has ever managed to live out God’s instructions, because he understands them from the inside, he was part of their making.  He came to reverse what Adam did.  As Adam alone opened up the possibilities of evil, Jesus alone came to do away with the consequences.

We continue to get many things wrong, but Jesus continues to deal with that.  Jesus brings life and forgiveness to all who realise where they are and what they have done, and turn to him.  As Adam’s obedience made humanity unacceptable, so Jesus’ obedience makes us acceptable again.

This is quite complex to get our heads around (well mine anyway), but the bottom line is, Jesus brings the possibility of everything being OK.  He is making everything alright with God for us.  Like someone who comes along and pays a bill we can’t afford, or points us to the right road when we are lost.  Basically Jesus saves us – from ourselves, from our actions, when we get caught up in other people’s behaviour; he stands before God with us and vouches for us.  He gets rid of the things that stand in our way, if only we will let him.

Lord,
I have got so much wrong.

But I thank you
that Jesus got everything right.

Thank you
that can make a difference in my life,
that because of him
you accept me.

I come asking for forgiveness
and seeking your life,
for I know
that is the only way to live

And that makes me want to sing of such wonderful love

Trouble #adventbookclub – Day 7

Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees.

The Trouble with Sin

The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?”

10 The man answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!”

11 “How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?”

12 “It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 The Lord God then asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The snake tricked me,” she answered. “And I ate some of that fruit.”

14 So the Lord God said to the snake:

“Because of what you have done,
you will be the only animal
    to suffer this curse—
For as long as you live,
you will crawl on your stomach
    and eat dirt.
15 You and this woman
    will hate each other;
your descendants and hers
    will always be enemies.
One of hers will strike you
    on the head,
and you will strike him
    on the heel.”

16 Then the Lord said to the woman,

“You will suffer terribly
    when you give birth.
But you will still desire
your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”

17 The Lord said to the man,

“You listened to your wife
    and ate fruit from that tree.
And so, the ground
will be under a curse
    because of what you did.
As long as you live,
you will have to struggle
    to grow enough food.
18 Your food will be plants,
but the ground
will produce
    thorns and thistles.
19 You will have to sweat
    to earn a living;
you were made out of soil,
and you will once again
    turn into soil.”

Maggi describes this passage as

The end of the beginning (p34)

and it is.  God has spent his time creating a perfect world, leaves man and woman to care for it, and what happens?  Pretty soon the one rule they had is broken.  And very quickly follows blame – “She made me do it” (v12), and “the snake tricked me”.

They had both heard what God said,

God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden, except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to touch it. If we do, we will die. (v3)

and so both were responsible, but both chose to blame someone else.  There was no personal responsibility.

And the consequences reverberate down through the generation…

The passage starts off so beautifully – an afternoon breeze and God walking in the garden.  But the mood quickly changes as they know they have done wrong and scuttle off to hide.

Have you ever wanted to hide from God?  To know he is there and be so ashamed of yourself that you wished you could scuttle off?  I know I have.  That point of realisation – I’m not as good as I’d like to think, I’m not the persona I like to project, there is very little of paradise in me…

That point can be the end of the beginning of our relationship with God, but the beginning of an honest one.

This passage is reality.  It is where we are, or certainly where we begin with God.  It is the end of the beginning, but the beginning of something new.  From knowing where we are, we can move on.

As Maggi says, we know the problem (p37).  Now, we begin to find out what God is going to do about it for us.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Lord,
in my reality,
I want to hide from you.
I know what I have done wrong,
and I am ashamed to face you.
I try to blame others,
but I have no one to blame but myself.
I am in trouble,
and I know it.

Yet I cannot hide from you,
for only you can help me

This year, several of us are reading Beginnings and Endings by Maggi Dawn and joining together to comment on it.  Do join us at the Adventbookclub Facebook page, follow #adventbookclub on Twitter or comment below.  If you are also reading and blogging on this book, let me know and I will link to your blog.