Chronicles in Ordinary Time 71: Missing the Point

DragonFire1Dragon Fire [digital painting]

I did a ‘Hobbit Marathon’ last weekend; the third installment arrived from the library. I decided to revisit the earlier installments to get back up to speed. After watching 6 or so hours of Hobbit, it occurred to me that between the Hobbit trilogy and the Lord of the Rings series of movies, it was very easy to miss the point of the whole story—the destruction of a Ring of Great Power because it was too dangerous to be left in human [or otherwise] hands. Amidst the Hobbits, the Orcs, the Elves, the Dwarves and Trolls; amidst the Wizards and Fell Creatures, it’s easy lose sight of the main character—the One Ring.

We humans are great at missing the point.

People argue over the idea of Bible Stories being true. They bring up the quandary of whether a whale could swallow a man for three days, and miss the point of the story. The whale is actually a very minor character in the story of Jonah. The point of the story is that the Creator wants the people of Nineveh to change their way of life to that of “love justice, show mercy and walk humbly with their God.” Jonah apparently has a real problem with the Ninevites and wants God to blow them off the face of the earth; rather than asking them to change. The people change for the better, and God wins.

We tell Bible Stories to children because most of the concepts in the Bible are adult concepts that can’t be understood by children. We tell them the stories with animals and kids and Jesus’ miracles because these ideas can be understood by children. Sadly, many of those children become adults without every hearing or reading the rest of the Bible, and they never wrestle with the adult difficulties of “love justice, show mercy and walk humbly with your God.” They write off the stories they heard when they were children, because those stories don’t seem to apply with the real difficulties of life; and they write off the Bible.

I read an article online recently, one that talked about the 10 longest-living creatures on the planet. Humans aren’t on that list.

what is man_webWhat if we are missing the point again?

The Bible talks about the great ages of the people before the Flood; and people ponder how those incredible lifespans could be…the age of an Arctica Islandia; an Ocean Quahog clam [500 years].

what is man_his days are like grassWhat if the point of all those great lifespans were simply to allow us to take care of Creation? To have a Galapagos Tortoise or a family of Macaws as friends, and to watch their life cycle?

Genesis 1:26 reads: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

The Hebrew phrase: בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם  can be translated: “in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish…”

The word וְיִרְדּוּ֩ means to ‘rule’/’have dominion’ and is a verb; consequently the word means an action rather than a position. We are to act in the manner of one who rules over Creation; not one who tells Creation what to do, but one who nurtures Creation.

As the story continues, man, having failed to do his job correctly, gets wiped out; and God starts over again with one human family, and all of the other families of Creation. From one perspective, Man’s assignment is still the same. Take care of God’s Creation. And God promises that the world will never again be wiped out by a Flood.

This time we are doing it ourselves.

We missed the point again.

 

 

 

 

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