Christians talk all the time about Eden and rightfully so, yet, it usually is just to set the scene for the upcoming drama rather than be a part of the drama itself. But when we come seeking God’s agenda rather than pushing our own, we see that Eden is not just a backdrop for the world’s beginnings, it is a theology lecture in garden form. In every tree, plant, and fruit, God is explaining who he is and who we are. And as the true artist, he speaks to us through the garden’s form and function.
Our culture at large gives renown and praise to celebrities for who they are, what they have accomplished, and the things they have produced. We taught that if you want your life to matter, you have to have people pay attention.
Is it any wonder that when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ sets up His Passover that He does so around the table? He engages the senses. He pours out the good wine and breaks fresh bread. Have you ever been in the kitchen when the fresh bread comes right out of the oven? Have you ever cracked the crust and felt the warm air inside the bread hit your face? If you have, you won’t forget it. When Jesus calls us to His table, He calls us to remember while giving us something tangible and arresting that points us to a greater reality.
Jesus is demanding nothing short of a willingness to die (literally!) for His sake. This is important to realize because language such as “cross bearing” and “self denial” is frequently used among Western Christians to mean they missed the latest episode of The Voice to go to community group or they had to do coffee with “that” person on their day off. But this isn’t what He had in mind.
In our culture, we call a group of people who care for one-another a community. Broken families, codependent relationships, and an epidemic of loneliness have created a ravenous hunger for community in this generation. This is what we long for in and outside of the church. Community has become something we consume to meet our needs, not an act of loving others.