Monday, October 25, 2010

Soul Nugget 4: Smells Like Community part 2

There’s this song that my dad really likes (I think it falls under the category of southern gospel) called “The Jericho Road”. The chorus goes something like this:

On the Jericho Road

There’s room for just two –

No more, and no less –

Just Jesus and you.

Now, I apologize if this is your favorite song, and I am probably biased against it because I can’t stomach country gospel music, but the first time I heard that song, I had this feeling in my gut that something was wrong… no not necessarily wrong… something was missing.

There’s room for JUST two.

No more.

No less.

What I find funny, however, is that when I had my week of involuntary solitude, it truly was “just Jesus and me.” No more. No less. And yet… I felt empty… as if “Jesus and me” wasn’t quite enough…

What if…

What would you say if I were to tell you that God alone isn’t enough for us to live the way we were meant to live? What if… I were to tell that the worship song “All I Need is You, Lord” is incomplete? What if… Jericho Road is a dead end?

What if we need more than God alone?

Sounds like heresy doesn’t it? But before you fetch your torches and pitchforks, let’s look at what the Bible has to say. (Always a good idea, right?)

In the book of Genesis there is a pattern for the way that God creates things…

Step 1. God says “Let there be _____.”

Step 2. There is ______.

Step 3. God sees that _______ is good.

Now, Genesis pretty much stays consistent with this pattern throughout the entire creation story. Except for in one place.

Gen. 2:15-18 says,

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

“Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now, at this point your mental processes should be coming to a screeching halt… “Wait, just a collar-pickin' minute!” you should be saying, “the Fall, that thing that happens when Adam and Eve eat the fruit, that doesn’t happen until chapter 3. Surely God didn’t mean that, right?”

But he did mean it. Even before the consequences of the Fall, there was something in God’s creation that was “not good”: aloneness. You see, we have an awesome, gracious, loving Creator, and he loves what he created. He loves us so much in fact that he wants to share us with each other. God alone isn’t enough for us, because God alone decided not to be.

Do you see it? Can you feel the implications?

Mankind was created to exist in perfect balance and relationship with:

1. God

2. Human Beings

3. The Created Order

In reality, the consequence of the Fall was not "well, now we can't it on our own 'cause we're fallen, so I guess we need each other for accountability partners."

Want to know what the consequence actually was?




The perfect balance between God, one another, and the created order was thrown off, and now we still live in the wake of the Fall. We are all lonely… isolated… craving for acceptance and love. We are all damaged goods, but we don’t want anyone else to know that. So we keep our barriers up. It’s better, we think, to be alienated from one another than for someone else to know who we really are on the inside. John Ortberg says, “Everybody’s weird… because we know in our hearts that this is not the way we’re supposed to be, we try to hide our weirdness. Every one of us pretends to be healthier and kinder than we really are; we all engage in what might be called ‘depravity management.[1]’”

At the same time, all people long to be connected. We are starving for community. And so we go out to try to find it. One goes to the bar on Friday night to meet some people… one goes to Starbucks to meet up with a friend… one goes to the high school football game to see people they know. Why do we do these things? Well… why did I go to the grocery store after 54 minutes of isolation? We are looking for some kind of community; we want it, yet we’re terrified of it. We are all broken with the desire to be connected.

[1] Orteberg, John. Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them. Zondervan © 2003. (17)

1 comment:

  1. Wow!

    Ryan you have something here. I know I dispise being alone. I find happiness in people, even if in quet times, I know they are there and I am not alone. I know how you felt when they all left. I have told myself "great I can study", yet I find rather than focussing on God and word, my mind begins to wander towards people and wondering what they are doing. Thank you for sharing this as I know I have seen the "suitable partner" berse, and verses on fellowship, but never looked at them in this light. I had kind of been beating myself up due to my lack of concentration. Loneliness is as much of a distraction as is the Noise of the World!

    Thank you "Cool Ryan"