Genesis 3:9-15 2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1 Mark 3:20-35
I don’t consider myself much of a storyteller. It just is not part of my nature. But I know, from reading, that I enjoy either reading or hearing a good story. I particularly like the insights into human nature which can be gained from stories.
Telling stories is just what we experience in the first chapters of the book of Genesis. They are stories which were told over and over again through word of mouth until they were finally refined and written down, becoming part of the Scriptures that we know. In Genesis and in other ancient literatures, stories were told in order to answer fundamental questions and as a means of conveying basic truths. The questions addressed dealt with matters such as where we, as human beings, came from and how did we get here. They were questions about life and how life is to be lived.
Genesis, and the stories it recorded, introduces a particularly important truth. It is the truth understood about God as being One, a Creator of life, a Sustainer of life, and one with whom an intimate relationship is possible. Today, specifically, we heard a response to the question about the origin of evil and, especially, the effects of evil.
Adam and Eve, the characters in this story, were given charge of a perfect garden, a Paradise. There was only one restriction. They were not to eat the fruit of one tree. It was a very minimal restriction. They had the ability to choose what to do. Free will was part of their created nature. Immediately after being confronted with the choice they had made, they began to blame each other, and then the lesser being, the serpent. They refused to take responsibility for the choice they had made, the actions they took. As result, their perfect existence began to unravel. Disharmony and conflict entered into the world because of a selfish choice. Disharmony and conflict would continue and be amplified, as later stories in Genesis would relate
Disharmony and conflict confronted Jesus as we heard from the description St. Mark gave of an event early in the ministry of Jesus. Rather than accepting what he was saying,, the truth that was present in his words, his neighbors and some of those acquainted with hum called him “mad” or “insane.” Rather than accepting the truth that he proclaimed, the leadership of the people declared him to be in league with Satan. Essentially they were not taking the responsibility to hear him. Rather, they were placing the blame elsewhere. It did not matter to either group whether he was revealing the truth about God. The self-interest of his neighbors and of the leaders of the people prompted their choice to reject him. In response, Jesus pointed out the illogical idea of what happens to a house that is divided against itself as well as the way that disharmony and conflict is overcome by hearing his message and putting into practice an intimate relationship with God. Then Jesus went on to say that whoever does the will of God, that is, whoever uses one’s own potential in day to day living to make God known, is the one who is more significant to him than even someone related to him by blood.
Making the presence of God known and active in our lives, making that principle a paramount guide in our lives, unites us with Jesus Christ and, through Christ, with our creative and sustaining God, This union, this bond with God is what overcomes the disharmony and conflict that is brought on by the selfish choices that deny God’s presence. Union with God brings about peace and unity among mankind for which we, as church, constantly pray.
In the story of Adam and Eve, the transitory enjoyment of a piece of fruit led to loss, conflict and disharmony. Hearing Jesus and adhering to the truth of the revelation of his ministry puts us unto contact with and in union with a much greater and lasting value, indeed, an eternal value, a relationship with our truly good and gracious God.