Among the several bits of wisdom that I recall, here is one particular part I am still digesting:
Priest to congregation: What are the three reasons Eve gave Adam to eat the fruit?*
The congregation responds: (1) juicy/tasty; (2) pleasing to the eye; (3) it will make you like God.
"It will make you like God," Father Robbie repeats. Obviously, we had hit on something.
He continued: "I submit to you that all sin is an attempt to do just that: make ourselves like God." He elaborated by giving several illustrations - some extreme to make a point and some simple so we could relate but all similar in this one aspect: when we sin, or disobey God, we are trying to remake the world in our image. In other words, we think we know best and choose to follow our design, instead of the rules/boundaries/limits God set before us to obey/respect/follow.
I know that I should insert an example from my own life here. That would be the sermon thing to do - the well-written essay thing to do. The problem is, I can't think of one.
I know how that sounds. Between my last post and that sentence, I sound ridiculous. It's not that I don't sin - far from it. I certainly do, just like all of us, even the very best of us. It's just that I'm so brain-dead, kid-tired after a Sunday full of church and laundry and cleaning and picnic in the park that I can think of nothing. Not one thing that would make sense in this post.
But I'm writing anyway because I truly felt branded by the words our priest spoke later in the sermon:
We all have a little apple on our breath.
Robbie was speaking of Adam's response to God when asked "What have you done?" Adam immediately blamed Eve and God (Genesis 3:12). Then, when God turned His attention to Eve, she immediately blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:13). As Father Robbie put it, "there's been a lot of bad theology that has come out of those two verses over the years. So let me just clear it up here and now. Both of those people - man and woman - knew God's command full-well and both chose to disobey it. Passing the buck is a good attempt at righteousness, but, in the end, we all have a little apple on our breath."
Father Robbie went on:
"I submit to you, in this one, first sin, that the level of destruction wrought was massive. We see in this interaction a myriad of broken relationships...God and humankind, humankind and humankind, the specific human relationship of husband and wife, humankind and all of creation. Furthermore, arguably the worst sin of all - murder - was not far behind this moment in history. How long did it take, how far were we from the Garden before the first murder entered human history?"
Several in the congregation whispered: "one generation."
"That's right," Robbie said, "one generation." The power of sin. It is pervasive and spreads quickly.
One generation...apple on our breath...be like God.... These thoughts floated in my head like clouds in the sky as I sat and listened. Occupying the same air space were thoughts of things I believe He's bringing up in my life right now:
What does it mean to allow oneself to recover?
I'm coming to the end of myself. To whom will I turn from here?
Train of broken relationships...it is time to begin the process of repentance and restoration.
I can't further elucidate these thoughts yet. They are still wisping past, beyond reach in the sky called my half-conscious self. I am still an observer, waiting for a form to appear in the white fluffiness above.
But somehow, the words that were spoken today are relevant; I know it in my spirit. If nothing else, I know I need to turn away from self as God and toward God as Lord in some specific ways, and soon. There are relationships to be restored. I also know that I have so little capacity, in mind, body, and spirit, that I can do nothing in my own strength alone. I'm learning that in a much deeper, more real, more desperate way right now. It almost feels trite to write about it here - it's that intense.
I'm linking up with Michelle at Graceful today for her "Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday" blog community.
*Everything written about Robbie's words today is a paraphrase, written to the best of my memory.