What is this thing called life?

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Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
For Sunday, March 9, 2014
First Sunday in Lent

Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love” is one of the great jazz standards. This week’s readings address an even deeper question: “What is this thing called life?”

There are several common answers flowing through contemporary culture. The first and most prominent in the Secular West is this: “This thing called life is whatever you want it to be. Ultimately, we’re cosmic accidents, but we can enjoy our self-awareness while we have it.” A second answer is the Islamic one. We’re created by God but will only find peace when we submit to him both personally and culturally”. A third answer is the Bhuddist one. We’re asleep at the wheel and need to be awakened into the universal consciousness of which we are a part. A fourth answer is the Hindu one. We are spiritual beings on a journeys through this world in order to move our souls toward Nirvana.

The Christian answer is that we are made in God’s image but fatally flawed because of our sin. God offers to redeem us through faith in his Son, and those who accept the offer will be restored and start restoring everything around them. This week’s readings tell this story from Genesis, Psalms, Matthew, and Romans.

So what is this thing called life? It comes down to which of the above (or other) answers best aligns with reality. What so you see in your own life? What do you see around you? Let your conscience be your guide.

What got me going in this direction is that very first verse in Genesis 2. “God put the man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” What we’re all designed for is to create a beautiful garden that honors Him while also blessing us.” Based on what I see in myself and in this world, this makes sense.

How about for you? This week we move from The season of Epiphany (revelation) to Lent (springtime). The purpose of Lent is not to serve as a killjoy but rather to refocus us on the great question, “What IS this thing called life?”

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