DayBreaks for 2/10/17: A Fresh Grave, A Fresh Garden

DayBreaks for 2/20/17: A Fresh Grave, A Fresh Garden

From the blog of Doug Dalrymple, 2/07/07:

Why should you be surprised that the human race’s wickedness can hinder the fertility of the earth? For our sake the earth was subject to corruption, and for our sake it will be free of it. It exists solely for us, to serve us. Its being like this or like that has its root in this destiny… What happens to the world happens to it for the sake of the dignity of the human race. – John Chrysostom

If the current occupant of the throne in the Phanar has earned for himself the title of “Green Patriarch,” perhaps he’s simply following in the steps of his sainted predecessor. Perhaps. But Chrysostom’s is a different sort of environmentalism, isn’t it?
God is the true life of man. St John suggests that man is, in turn, the life of the created order. It depends upon us. It follows us into exile like a devoted slave, rejoicing in our honor, glorying in our beauty, weeping in our sorrow, dying in our death.
The created order is a mirror of man. Eden has fallen because Adam has fallen. When we look upon the world we behold our own conflicted reflection: an image of God, full of dignity and glory, obscured through sin, fallen into decay and dissolution, a field of conflict, a fresh grave, but sprouting with flowers.
“What happens to the world happens to it for the sake of the dignity of the human race.” This sounds absurd to us. But I wonder: if Adam wept when he left the Garden, perhaps his tears were due in part to a transformation -difficult for us to conceive but utterly apparent to him- which he had wrought upon creation through his disobedience, the abdication of his calling to “tend and keep.”
“…[F]or our sake it will be free…” Scripture teaches us that all things in heaven and on earth will be brought together and transformed in the God-Man, Jesus Christ. The whole creation, we read, groans under the burden of our fallenness, in anticipation of the revelation of the Sons of God, which is mankind resurrected, made fully alive, a royal priesthood, a new creation in Christ.
Eden was a seed entrusted to a child; heaven is the full-grown garden promised to the man.

PRAYER: Lord, in our fall we have marred your world, and mar it still.  Forgive us.  We long for the full-grown garden.  Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 2/15/17 – How Far Would He Go?

DayBreaks for 2/15/17: How Far Will He Go?

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

John 13:2-5 (NIV) – The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

It was the night of Passover – the holiest night of all for the Jews.  In a small room, Jesus met with his disciples, knowing that later that night he would be betrayed by Judas and his horrific ordeal would begin.  If I were in those circumstances, I’d be doing anything but sitting down to share a meal with friends.  I’d be trying to run, to hide, to find some way out – but not Jesus.  There was work to be done, and he was committed to seeing it through, but first, there were important things to pass along to his disciples.

And so it is that Jesus washes the feet of his disciples.  No one else rose to do the job that belonged to the lowest slave/servant.  So Jesus, as always, does what no one else wanted to do.

Peter, bless his heart, is humiliated when he realizes what Jesus is doing.  He realizes that this is grossly out of place, improper and that someone else (perhaps himself?) should be the one doing the washing.  Why?  Because Peter knew that Jesus was the Holy One.  Peter’s problem is that he felt that Jesus didn’t know how to act – that Jesus was doing something inappropriate and needed to be stopped.  To wash someone’s feet, you have to kneel before them, and kneeling is a symbol of the act of worship.  Throughout all the long ages of the Jewish people, it was the worshipper who kneels before the Worshipped One, but here, now, in the upper room…Peter knows it has been reversed – and in his opinion, it was wrong. 

Peter’s problem, you see, is that he thought Jesus was “acting.”  He wasn’t.  He was totally and completely sincere.  Luke 12:37 describes perhaps the most shocking scene in Scripture when it describes the feast of the Lamb in heaven: It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.

How would you have felt if you had been one of the disciples and had Jesus wash your feet?  I cannot imagine that I would have reacted any differently than Peter did – I would have wanted to stop Jesus from washing my feet.  But if I understand the passage in Luke, the day will come when Jesus will have us sit at the table and HE WILL SERVE US.  I want to cry with Peter: “Never, Lord!” 

How far Jesus was willing to go to redeem us?!?! He was willing to go as far as necessary!

PRAYER: I am humbled, Lord, that You should serve any of us – yet that is exactly what you did while here.  It is incomprehensible to think that You should wash our feet, yet you have done so – washing us not with water, but with the blood of Christ.  May we learn to serve one another in the sincere imitation of Jesus.  Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/29/16 – The Cost of the Fall

DayBreaks for 7/29/16 – The Cost of the Fall

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2006:

When we stop to contemplate the story of the fall in the early chapters of Genesis, we see humanity being affected by the fall and the creation itself being affected as it is cursed.  And, we naturally think of the cost of the fall on Christ – it was because of the fall that the cross was even necessary.

Perhaps, we minimize (I’m sure we do) the effect of the fall on God Himself.  Philip Yancey had something interesting to say about that in his book, Finding God in Unexpected Places, when he wrote: “Throughout the Old Testament, God seems to alternate between Spectator and Participant…The New Testament, though, shows the God who selflessly shared the dignity of causation by descending to become its Victim.  He who had the right to destroy the world – and had nearly done so once in Noah’s day – chose instead to love the world, at any cost.

“I sometimes wonder how hard it has been for God not to act in history.  How must it feel to see the glories of creation – the rain forests, the whales, the elephants – obliterated one by one?  How must it feel to see the Jews themselves nearly annihilated?  To lose a Son?  What is the cost of God’s self-restraint?

“I had always thought of the Fall in terms of its effect on us humans, namely the penalties outlined in Genesis 3. This time I was struck by its effect on God.  The Bible devotes only two chapters to the glories of original creation. All that follows describes the agonizing course of re-creation.”

Galen’s thoughts: What took God 6 days to create, merely by speaking, has now taken at least thousands of years to “re-create”.  And, as we can tell by looking around us, it’s got a long way to go before the glory of the original creation is again visible. The process of re-creation must be much more difficult (or seemingly so) than making the stuff originally.  At least, God thinks that the process of re-creation is worth the time and effort to make it happen – even if it takes thousands of years.  

But we find parallels in our human relationships, too.  A reputation can be destroyed in an instant by sinful actions or by gossip or slander, and it takes a long, long time for that reputation to be rebuilt and regained, if it ever can be fully restored.  It also appears that it is not God’s fault that re-creation, at least as far as it applies to us personally, takes so long.  We are quite pathetic when it comes to “straightening up” and “flying right” – we love our sin too much to give it up so easily and quickly.

The fall was tremendously costly to us.  It was costly to the original creation.  But it won’t prevent God’s ultimate completion of the re-creation of our souls and the glorious universe He made to begin with.

2 Peter 3:13 (NLT) – But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God.

PRAYER:  We confess, Lord, that we tend to think of ourselves far too often and not think nearly enough about what we do and how it affect you. We’re too selfish and small-minded to think outside of ourselves very often.  Thank You that You believe we are worth all the trouble of re-creating us, and that You will re-created a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness (and we) will dwell.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2006: