Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The gods aren't Angry

Last night Rob Bell's speaking tour rolled into Boston and unlike last time Rob Bell's speaking tour rolled into Boston, I didn't have a softball game to play in, so I went. It was nice to see some old friends that I haven't seen in awhile, as well as some friends I see fairly regularly. Oh yeah, and Rob's message was excellent.

He started out (wait, just so you know, I didn't take notes, this is all from memory, so if you were there and I got something wrong, feel free to point that out, okay?) I was saying, he started out by saying that from the earliest days when humans realized that we are dependent on forces outside of our control for living, things like the sun, moon, rain etc. there has been an attempt to please the gods. Offerings are made in an attempt to get the gods on your side. If the gods do not respond favorably (your crop fails, the child dies, the hunt is bad, etc.) you offer more to the gods. If the gods do respond favorably, you still offer more. After all, if you offered X and the gods blessed you with abundance, won't the be offended if you offer on X again? And so this cycle goes on of always trying to bless the gods and please them and you are never quite sure where you stand with them.

The God of Abraham, however, is completely different and unlike anything ever heard of prior. Here is a God who comes to Abraham and says, "I will bless you so you can bless others." A God that doesn't need us to bless him? A revolutionary thought. The revolution continues in that God lays out a plan for His people showing them exactly how to relate to Him, what will please Him, hence Leviticus. Then comes Jesus...the final more are necessary. Jesus announces that God has made peace with us and invites us to trust that this is so. In trusting we are invited to become living sacrifices and bless others.

And so when you gather with your community it ought to be a reminder that God is not angry, that He has made peace with us. We need not strive and jump through hoops in hopes that we might somehow earn God's favor. Remembering this, we are then free to bless others, knowing that we are a sign, a picture, of the reality that God has made peace with us...all of us. He has provided the sacrifice, and we are free.



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