Yesterday at the Christ Church Mission Lessons and Carols service, parishioner John Nelson shared this beautifully honest reflection on our need for a Savior – Jesus Christ, born at Christmas.

An Honest Reflection on Our Need for the Coming Savior

With a little help from a mean-spirited serpent, Adam and Eve wanted to have their eyes opened – to be like God, to live in ways that do not require obedience – and as a result …

  1. Their relationship / intimacy with God was terribly damaged.
  2. Their own relationship was damaged. (We see the spousal blame game invented before our very eyes.)
  3. Pain, or as the KJV puts it, great sorrow would come with childbirth.
  4. Pain and sorrow would accompany our labor as we toil for a living.
  5. And death was born – a death to which we are now ALL subjected … someday.

‘Pain and sorrow’ pretty well describe my cantankerous relationship with the Old Testament (OT). Particularly when it comes to reading about God’s chosen people. Time and time again, the OT Israelites proved that the Fall in the Garden wasn’t a fixed occasion; it was a pattern that would be endlessly repeated—a terminal condition.

So I often get impatient—and irritated—reading OT scriptures about failure after failure after someone else’s failure. God’s expectations made clearly known; God’s wrath provoked; God’s wrath foretold by pesky prophets (who describe His coming wrath in gory detail); then—God’s wrath transacted.

The flood.
Sodom and Gomorrah.
40 years of wandering the desert, the death of David’s son, Israel conquered, the destruction of the temple, the Babylonian exile …

I find much of the Old Testament … exhausting.

Picture me in my living room most mornings, sitting on my comfy couch, revisiting OT passages with disdain and judgment; casting aspersions on those whacky Israelites; vaguely curious about their odd systems of sacrifice; barely able to endure the long-winded expressions of God’s disappointment and anger; marveling how this ‘first solution to the fall’ trial ever got approved by the FDA.  (The Father Deity Administration)

I’m getting older, and it has dawned on me – how would the OT book about my own life read?

It would be a lot less grandiose and contain fewer prophets. But any honest assessment reveals that the same garden pattern is here in my heart—the desire to crave what is forbidden, to have my eyes opened beyond boundaries, to want to be like and to act like my own God, to do what I want, regardless of what I was created for.

Damaged relationships.
Pain and sorrow.
And of course, as I become older, death for me gets closer – harder to ignore.

After years of self-identification as a Christian, it only gets clearer and clearer to me just how much I need a savior.

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