Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fifth Day of Christmas

Even if the majority of people can't remember the gifts from the other days, everyone knows what my true love gave to me on the fifth day.  Five Golden Rings represent the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, commonly known as the Pentateuch or the Torah.  For modern Christians, we often become enthralled with the history of God's people before the Exodus and are unable to get through the rest of the books as they outline, what for many, is a tedious outline of the Law and what the ancient Hebrews had to do to receive forgiveness of their sins.  For the Christian catechist, that is, the one who would have used this song to learn the Christian faith, the Torah is a symbol of humankind's fall from grace and, as Paul teaches, that which shows us our need for a Savior.  Romans 3:19-20; 5:12-12; 7:7-8; 10:4 and Galatians 3:15-25 outline the purpose of the Law as that which shows the need for a Savior.
In our culture, sin has become a series of offenses that violate our conventional beliefs of appropriate conduct. Throughout the history of the Church, theologians have debated the state of humanity.  Most all agree that sin is not only wrong actions, but a state in which humanity exists.  But what difference does it make to you and to me?
There is an old story.  If a gold coin is dropped on your head, will it kill you? The answer rests not in the size of the coin, but how far it drops before it hits you.  If it were to fall from a building and strike you on the head, it would be fatal.  The old adage is intended to confront us not with the size of our sin, but the height of God's holiness.  To use a modern perspective, the war is with our own humanity.  It is not that we sin, rather, we are born sinners.  Our propensity for self gratification and selfishness is overwhelming.  Biologists will tell you that survival and self preservation are integral to what it means to he human.  I couldn't agree more.  The model of God's love is the opposite of our human condition.  God in Christ exemplified self sacrifice.  The call of the Gospel is to view ourselves not as an end to be protected and glorified, but as a part of something bigger.  We are called to be a part of a larger Body, the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). Sin is that human proclivity to seek our own will and an open, virulent resistance to the Lordship of our Creator.  You mean you are calling me to submit to something outside of my own desires and needs?  Yes! I am asking you to consider something larger than yourself.  I am asking you to think of the eternal implications for not only your own self that ultimately ends in death and darkness, but the implications for others, for all of creation to which you are being called.
The holiness of God is the fullness of existence.  Unless you die to yourself, you will never live.  However, that death must be for Truth. Christ is Truth (John 14:1, 6; 18:37). The Torah reveals the height of God's holiness. Come out of the darkness and into the Light of Christ, His Body, His Church (Colossians 1:24), His bride (Luke 5:35; John 3:29).

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