A Brief Meditation on the Tragic Fall and Triumphant Rise of Humanity

From ancient times, the human condition was degrading.  We were created in innocence and ensconced in a realm of perfection, never having been polluted by sin or evil.  But humanity was not content with perfection.  There must be more.  That one prohibition given to those innocents in the Garden was too restrictive, that forbidden fruit too tempting, that soothingly nagging voice too convincing to let the line go uncrossed. 

But perhaps the far-reaching effects of that one fateful decision were too cosmically cataclysmic for two innocent hearts, too inexperienced minds to fully contemplate or comprehend.  How do you know evil unless you have seen it face to face, heard its voice, felt the intensity of its burning cold emptiness?  How do you know loneliness without separation?  How do you know safety without danger? How do you know peace without conflict?

With that one decision, a curtain fell.  With one thought that traveled through still learning synapses, guiding a hand upward, reaching for something that should never have been considered; with one touch of something as apparently innocuous as a fruit, this universe was destroyed.  Not all at once.  But even as entropy patiently, inexorably claims order, the rift between eternal and mortal, soul and body, God and man had begun.

Through countless years of calls to order, pleas to return, invitations to reason, the rift continued to fray until perhaps this failing, corrupted creation reached a tipping point beyond which there could be no hope of redemption.  Whether that was the case, only God knows.  But it was then that God lit a candle in the darkness to guide us home should we choose to see it.  He opened the realm of the divine and let slip the hope of a restored creation.

He sent us Jesus.

Jesus’ earthly ancestry was a jumble of rogues and royalty, like most of us.  His birth was into humble circumstances, like most of us.  That birth was a miracle of life, as any birth is, but was even more miraculous through its circumstance.  His life was unremarkable in terms of worldly accumulation of wealth, like most of us, but the riches he imparted through his teaching were far from ordinary.  He was challenged with every temptation that humanity can face, like every one of us, but stood firm in his resistance, to show us it can be done.   

His message was one of hope.  It was the echo of the creation call to perfection.  It was the challenge to rise above the gathering corruption of a fallen humanity bent on self-destruction and breathe the clean air of a restored Eden, now in heart, but one day in reality. 

His life was one brief but eloquent demonstration of what humanity can and should be: thankful, gracious, appreciative, selfless, loving, caring, passionate, compassionate, giving, forgiving, strong, courageous…in a word, perfect.

When the darkness claimed Jesus’ earthly life through his own willingness to lay it down, its victory was short-lived.  He arose from a borrowed tomb to unsurpassed glory: he was re-created, now more in God’s image than any before him.  He was the new Adam, rising above the bonds of mortality to show us the way to what was always planned for us.  The candle in the window now blazes as a watch-fire, a beacon on the hill of Heaven, a lighthouse to guide us safely through the straits of this fallen creation and on to perfection.  Through his life and example we have the pattern of what humanity was meant to be, what we can be if we choose.

Whether you call him Jesus, Yeshua, Immanuel, the Lamb of God or the Lion of Judah, there is no mistaking who it is you are talking about.  He is the central figure in the Christian scriptures, and some would say all of history.  His life changed the course of history, the echoes of his teaching ringing still through 20 centuries.  His message, though twisted by some and denied by others, will never be extinguished.  He continues to change hearts.  He is the son of God.  He was.  He is.  He ever shall be.

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