In the Western world we have a dominant worldview. An integral part of our dominant world view is capitalism, which is based on quid pro quo, reward and punishment, and justice as retribution. If I want X number of widgets, I will need to provide Y amount of payment. We are unaware of how this fundamental worldview affects our relationships, our basic self-image, and actions. Phrases like “I deserve”; “You owe me”; “I will be generous if it helps me, too” seem to dominate our conversations. It also gets built into faulty foundation for our relationship with God.
In the fourth chapter of Genesis, Cain kills his brother, Abel. Murder and violence enter the human story. God finds Cain. “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) Am I my brother’s, my sister’s, my neighbor’s keeper? It is a rhetorical question, not an invitation to debate from scripture’s perspective. The answer is a resounding, “YES!”
Simultaneously saint and sinner.
This is how Martin Luther describes Christians – we are at the same time saints and sinners.
I have a hard time disagreeing with Luther. I fully believe that we are at the same time both saints and sinners. It seems that this phrase accurately describes the nature of ourselves. But we often get hung up on one side or the other of that phrase.
As fall now approaches, my gardening thoughts turn from growth and planting to trimming and pruning. My perennial garden is taking on that “I’ve run my course” look. The hollyhocks went to seed a month ago. I have already cut them back and retained some seeds. The phlox are losing their flowers. The hydrangeas are starting to brown a bit, losing their luster. While I leave most of them for the birds and critters for the winter, some pruning is in order. I googled the best time to prune that Japanese Maple, which needs some shape. It will wait. The pruning will come.