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by Dr. Andrea MacVicar
New York.   Atlanta.   Minneapolis.  Seattle.  White House.   Covid-19.   Science-Data-Experts-Fauci-Brix.    Lockdown.  Economy.  Floyd-Chauvin.  Protests.  Peaceful-Violent.   Funerals.   Systemic-Racism.  Reparation.  Election.  Democrat- Republican.  Liberal-Conservative.   Politically-Correct.   Freedom-Anarchy.  Flags-Statues-Desecration.  Chaz-Chop.   Police Brutality.  Individual Rights-Free Speech.  Politically Correct.  Marxism-Socialism-Communism.

Like the sudden thrust of our birth into a new world, we are filled with fears by forces beyond our control which have taken away every security we have known. We enter the possibility of the demise, not so much that we will die, for we know as individuals we will die, but that the truths we have come to believe about ourselves have died. The principles we have been taught, such as: the ends do not justify the means; we are loved because we love; we can educate ourselves into wisdom; perseverance does bring success; relationships built on trust will prevail if we have patience; what we do in the now can last because we are earnest and thoughtful. We are to respect those in authority; our laws, rules, and regulations are based on our constitution of equality through due process. How could those principles we believed and depended upon be gone so quickly? And so, we respond as babies do when safety and security seem to vanish. Instinctual. Visceral. Fight or flight. Anger or denial.

Through the media the words fly out with the fury of sound and anger and substance. It flashes in fast moving sound bytes and images like stinging insects that swirl round us. We bat at them to try to keep them from overwhelming our senses with their infections and poison. In this onslaught of our world seeming to spin out of control we attempt to calm this whirlwind by various means. We Zoom and Skype; we text and twitter; we read articles; we channel pundits; we listen and talk and work. And, we attempt to sort through this morass by doing whatever we call normal, yet all the while knowing nothing will ever be quite normal again—if in the history of humankind, there ever was a normal.

Words are powerful. How we assemble those words, the sincerity of emotions behind them, the choice of expressions in its rhetoric of time and context must continually be re-assessed in determining history. After all, we are no longer a primitive people, grunting and pointing our fingers to ask each other for what we need. We have evolved through many revolutions. We don't have to be stuck in the past. Our words are related to modern knowledge—the mores of our culture. If only we can read enough words, hear enough media, learn enough science data, we are certain we can understand ourselves into a world of peace, prosperity, and purpose by accomplishing what has never happened before in human history—that everyone is equal to live their lives in security as they choose. On this we can agree. On this we can come together—help our country understand true equality. That time is now. We've come a long way. We've evolved into being a good people and, therefore, with the right leadership in agreement into governing all levels of our lives, we can prove our innate goodness, national and personal. We are in control of our destiny. Now is the time to come together to determine our future and evolve even further into the greater and the better good for everyone. We must overthrow all the wrongs, the evils of our past and act now.

But what have we really depended upon? If we discard those principles, what will we replace them with? Perhaps those truths should be re-explored, re-examined? Maybe, just maybe, we need to look at a greater, truer concept, a higher multi-layered truth: there is nothing good in us.

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever…and so He drove out the man…to keep the way of the Tree of Life…" Genesis 3:22-23 (KJV)

The Genesis account, chapter three. We know it. We've studied it. We know an intruder comes into God's Garden and lies to two people that they can have the same power to control their lives with the ability to recreate a perfect environment just like the God who created them—because they are already perfect like God. It's simple. They have the power to make something out of nothing just as they had been made. They are capable of acquiring the knowledge to determine what is good and what is evil. All they have to do is decide what kind of government, what kind of nation, what kind of family they want to create. They can decide what is good and what is not. They can be entirely self-sufficient to build whatever they wish.

But as Christians we know that through the centuries of human history the knowledge of good and evil didn't bring a life of joy and freedom. It didn't bring life at all. It brought battlefields and slums. It made insane asylums, ugly buildings and dirty streets. It brought confinement and fear, not freedom and peace. It brought tyranny. The knowledge of good and evil carries fight or flight from within its human inception to its completeness —isolation, death and separation from God.

But again, as Christians we know we are creatures, not gods. We know we are the created, not the creator. Don't we? We know we are not in control of as much as we would like to think we are. Don't we? Yes, human beings and doings we are. Complex and complicated we are. Explorers and navigators we are. We can do good things—even great things. We pray, fast, and read inspiring literature. We are possibility thinkers. We care. We are generous with our time and money. We admire sacrifice for just causes. We uphold honor and tradition—the certainty of knowing right from wrong. We believe in the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And, act accordingly. We believe the ancient premise: A good man can perform an evil deed and an evil man can perform a good deed. Therefore, we judge no one. Isn't that what the scriptures teach? We do know good is a comparative word and we are not to judge. We are to love others and ourselves without condition, aren't we? All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, haven't we? After all, good deeds, speaking spiritual words, even in defending the theologies from those we have admired as correct and in whom we have come to trust as mature, we are doing everything we have been taught in the church. True, we may not exhibit in our personal lives that which we espouse to believe, we are doing the best we can, trying our utmost to behave according to our Christian heritages and traditions. Doesn't it still "come down" to how well our lives are lived out, rather than by any righteous verbiage. We can all agree we are not what we could or should be. So, let's go along to get along. In unity. If we try hard enough; if we work hard enough, why can't we call ourselves a good people and live in harmony with our fellowman? Why can't we bring about an environment in agreement with peace and prosperity, create our own philosophies, our own theologies to fit into what the angels sang about God's "good will towards man?

"And the LORD God planted a Garden…in Eden…pleasant to the sight…good for food…The Tree of Life also in the midst of the Garden…and the LORD God commanded the man…every tree in the Garden you may freely eat…but…" Genesis 2:8-15 (KJV); "…And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river was there the Tree of Life…and the leaves of the tree was for the healing of the nations…" Revelation 1:1, 2(KJV)

Actually, in God's garden there had been another tree. The Tree of Life. Eating from it gave the original two freedom, but not independence from God. For however long they were in that garden, and chose to retain that dependent relationship, their perfection remained intact because their freedom to expand their world was given by the One who created it. The created can never be the creator. Familiarity doesn’t guarantee intimacy. Alikeness is not duplication. But we don't have to make their mistake because God offers to us the same invitation He gave to them—the dependent upon Him way. His offer is still to the individual—to an "each" of us. When Jesus walked on this earth, just as we are doing, He had to deal with the group-think ideologies of the society into which He was born. Instead, He responded radically by revealing not only that He is the Tree of Life, but He is the creator of that very tree as well. He responded with His teaching, His miracles, His sacrifice, His death, and His resurrection to an "each" one—an individual need.  His words touched individuals. And then as now, He sends the Holy Spirit to change "each" one of us from the inside out. He offers this same One to us to satisfy our hunger and thirst. He offers freedom from fear of death, loss of control, fight or flight. Anger and denial can be replaced with assurance of security in perfection. From Genesis to Revelation, this tree is alive with ever embracing branches in the welcoming promise of producing in and through "each" of us His life-giving-eternal fruit. However, we must discard the intruder's lie by trusting entirely on a new inception. A new birth. We can start over again—become a new creation—every cell, every hair brand new. A total transformation from the dust to glory.

                                                                                      Jesus said:

"These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (NAS);"...but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (KJV)

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6 (NAS)

"…but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses…" Acts 1: 5, 8 (NAS)

"I am Alpha and Omega…blessed are they who washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb…that they may have the right to the Tree of Life..and may enter in through the gates…" Revelation 22: 13, 14 (NAS & KJV)

And, just as the Apostle John's response to Christ's invitation, so do I agree, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."  Revelation: 22:20 (KJV)

Andrea MacVicar