Happy Sunday to all!!
I hope you all have a day filled with immense blessings...loads of love and for those of you here in the Houston, I hope you have enjoyed our little dose of Fall weather! Glorious!
So...I went to hear my friend Carrie preach this morning...Carrie and I went to high school together...went to College at nearby schools...and over the years have seen each other from time to time...We have great friends in common and she has always been someone I have enjoyed spending time with!
She has not always been a minister...As a matter of fact..she is a fairly recent ( in the last couple of years) graduate of Southern Methodist University and has been at her current church for about a year!
So I have had the opportunity to see her a little more frequently lately and I asked her about her church...etc...and she mentioned that she would be preaching today!!! So...I made a mental note..and Mom and I went to hear her sermon this morning!!!
First...just know that Carrie is an Overcomer! She is a Mom, wife and a Cancer SURVIVOR!!!
So...I am not going to attempt to reiterate her excellent sermon here...but I am going to share with you how it hit home for me! Her sermon today was about Adam and Eve...and the choices they made...the blame, the guilt, the shame...and the consequences.
So I am going to assume that most of you guys know Adam and Eve...know that God created Adam...gave him ONE command...don't eat or touch fruit from a particular tree in the center of the garden...God then gave Adam...a woman...made out of Adam's own flesh...She too was given the same instruction...and then there was a Serpent...OK...so we know Eve was manipulated by the Serpent...Then Adam and Eve both partook of the forbidden fruit...Lived to tell about it...BUT...were immediately filled with tremendous guilt and shame...They made loin cloths of Fig Leaves to hide the shame they felt by being naked...
Now this is where Carrie's sermon took on a personal meaning for me..She told a story of loving to climb the fig tree in her Dad's backyard...She talked about how much she loved the "fort" type feeling the canopy of the fig tree provided...that it was a great place to play...but...she mentioned how the Fig Leaf is not the most supple leaf out there...that it in fact, is a rough, course leaf...that would not be ideal for covering the regions of the body a loin cloth is designed for...just sayin'!
So Carrie goes on to discuss that God discovers what has happened...hands down the consequences to Adam, Eve and the Serpent AND after Adam and Eve's pronouncements of blame, guilt and shame...He then did something that is the one thing that I think is understated in this story of our Creation...God, once the consequences were named...He made clothing...soft, comfortable clothing and gave it to Adam and Eve. No more uncomfortable fig leaf...but instead a soft, new animal skin outfit!! He lovingly made, comfortable clothes for them...He had moved on...Forgiven them and wanted them to live ABUNDANTLY!
Now the entire sermon, Carrie very wisely applied how we, today, often cloth ourselves in fig leaves (figuratively, of course)...a rough garment of guilt and shame...that we hide behind. We hide from others...thinking that we will be judged, condemned...or not fit in because of our past transgressions...
I have an entire wardrobe of fig leaves...I have never met a more critical voice than the one that lives in my own head and sounds remarkably a lot like me...because it is me..
I often forget the Promise we have from God that we will NOT be condemned for our earthly mistakes but instead:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Forgive my own translation...but God sent his Son to this world..so that I did not have to wear scratchy, uncomfortable fig leaves...so that I did not have to live in guilt, shame or hide behind the discomfort of my past mistakes...but instead...God sent His only Son so that I may wear the "Soft New Skin" He made for me and be comforted by the Love and Forgiveness that "new skin"...that New Hope provides...
Here is the cool part...that comfy "new skin"...is available to anyone who chooses to embrace it...wear it and Live in the eternal hope that it provides!
Now..trust me...Carrie made many additional great points and artfully tied in multiple scriptures that I did not even touch here...But the above spoke to me and particularly to the part of me that tosses on a Fig Leaf and traipses headlong into this Journey I am on...without even once stopping to consider that I have choices on how I "dress" along this Journey.
As I work hard to shed this body of Fig Leaves...ALL the emotional, physical, spiritual battles that I am undertaking in hopes of fully embracing a slimmer, healthy NEW SKIN...one that is completely sewn by God's Hand and is a symbol of great Love and Forgiveness!!!
I hope this week you are comfortably dressed in God's Love...and that you shed your Fig Leaves...!
So Carrie thank you for your sermon...A Soft New Skin....Thank you for your honesty and forgive my inadequate description of your lovely words!