Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.
This past Sunday our service theme was “God Brings Us Home.” Pastor Bobby opened a Lent sermon series on sin with a sermon on Genesis 3:1-13, 22-24 and the exile caused by sin. He began by pointing out that the mathematician Blaise Pascal noticed that, while other animals feel at home in their environment, human beings typically feel a sense of exile, of not fitting into our surroundings.
This story in Genesis shows us the effects of exile in three areas. Feeling ashamed after sinning, the man and the woman dealt with an exile within. Like us, they felt that they were strangers to themselves.
They were also alienated from each other, blaming each other for their own sin. Like them, we hide from others in ways that prevent us from gaining a sense of belonging.
Finally, they experienced distance from the physical world, which became oriented against their lives and well-being.
This all resulted from the source of exile in their lives. They had been exiled from the presence of God, so the source of their distance from themselves, others, and the world was the fact that they were missing the face of God.
The story we read in Genesis 3 is a gospel story. It is not a postmodern story of continued alienation or a religious story of self-improvement. It is a story in which God makes the first move to end the exile.
God goes on a search to find the man and woman and restore relationships. Ultimately, the Bible shows how Jesus does this in the fullest sense, living a life of exile from his home in order to bring us back home to God because of God’s love for us.
Questions for prayer and reflection:
- Where in your life are you running from God? How are you experiencing alienation from yourself, others, or the world as a result of your distance from God’s presence?
- Are you bringing others closer to God by bringing the reconciliation that Jesus brings into their lives?
- Does your life reflect ongoing alienation without resolution? Or does it involve a religious attempt to make things right with God by being a good person? How can you rely on the effort that God makes to restore us to our true home by sending Jesus into the world and giving us the Holy Spirit?
- What is the home that your heart longs for? How might the life of Jesus, culminating in his death and resurrection, show you the way home from your experiences of exile?