Grasping

For any who have read some of my ramblings, I just want to say that these are mostly intended to be food for thought. Little observations and feelings that I put out here to help me think through things and find out what I really think.
With that in mind, this A.M. I found myself reflecting on failure. This lead me to the story of the garden. Now, there’s a lot in the story recorded in Genesis 2 & 3. More than I care to get into now. But, one thing that did jump out at me was the idea of ‘grasping.’ Let’s recap. Adam and Eve were placed in the garden to care for it, to cultivate it, and to serve and protect it. It would be ok to think that they, in their own way, farmed the land. We are lead to understand that the land willingly gave up its strength so that whatever crop was planted grew up healthy and full of fruit. During the times when they were acting in their role as stewards, they probably had lots of time to think and discuss their lives and relationships with the very good creation, with each other, and with God. It appears that somewhere in the course of their lives they began to speculate about how God related to the very good creation and to them, in particular. The reason I say that is because when they were confronted with the choice of following the known will of Elohim or not, they seemed to have already formed a positive opinion of God’s role against a more negative view of their own. When the serpent offered his opinion that they would certainly not die if they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they accepted his opinion. The text reads, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Gen. 3:6a&b, NIV2011). She saw that eating the fruit would allow one to grasp at the things, the attributes, of God. Not content to fulfill the role intended for humankind, she coveted that which was intrinsically divine.
Now, let’s contrast that with another person. Yeshua ben Yosef, of questionable birth, (i.e., Yosef was not his dad), came on the scene. Throughout his life he learned a trade and he learned about Yahweh from his family and friends. He grew strong in the Spirit and was especially close to his heavenly Father. He did not need to speculate about God’s role in the very good creation. He was intimately aware of it. He was also intimate with the barriers that humanity placed on one in relation to Yahweh. Of anyone in history, he was the one who could properly ‘grasp’ at the things that were in the purview of God. Yet, one of the earliest hymns of the fledgling ecclesia reads, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (Phil. 2:6). Jesus did not grasp at that which was not his to have. In this Kenotic hymn we have a glimpse into the proper position for humankind. He emptied himself and took on the form of a servant; a slave. Like the story of the garden, Jesus confronted the same temptation: to become ‘like God.’ In his case, he was God! But, he willingly and humbly chose not to grasp at that. He laid it down. And, in so doing has provided the example by which we, as his followers, should emulate. Yes, we are by adoption daughters and sons of God. Yes, we have rights as children and heirs. But, our place in this life is to take the form of a servant. A servant to God, to humanity, to the very good creation.

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