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Archive for December 19th, 2016

Prayer of the Day

Lord God, heavenly Father, You created Adam in Your image and gave him Eve as his helpmate, and after their fall into sin, You promised them a Savior who would crush the devil’s might. By Your mercy, number us among those who have come out of the great tribulation with the seal of the living God on our foreheads and whose robes have been made white in the blood of the Lamb; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Adam was the first man, made in the image of God and given dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:26). Eve was the first woman, formed from one of Adam’s ribs to be his companion and helper (Genesis 2:18-24). God placed them in the Garden of Eden to take care of creation as His representatives. But they forsook God’s Word and plunged the world into sin (Genesis 3:1-7). For this disobedience, God drove them from the garden. Eve would suffer pain in childbirth and would chafe at her subjection to Adam; Adam would toil amid thorns and thistles and return to the dust of the ground. Yet God promised that the woman’s Seed would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:8-24). Sin had entered God’s perfect creation and changed it until God would restore it again through Christ. Eve is the mother of the human race, while Adam is representative of all humanity and the fall, as the apostle Paul writes, “For in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). (From the LCMS website)

Reflection, by Valerius Herberger (21 April 1562 – 18 May 1627):  

In the midst of paradise stands the tree of life. From this, Adam [and Eve were] driven away so that [they] would not eat of it but instead would die according to God’s judgment on account of the sin [they] committed. But the cross of Christ is the noble tree of life on which hangs the noble fruits that bring us eternal life. “No forest produces such foliage, blossoms, sprouts.” Whoever consoles himself with the precious merit of Jesus Christ shall live, even though he die. “And whoever lives and believes in Him shall never die” (John 11:26). Because of their sins, Adam [and Eve and their] children were locked out of paradise, but through the key of the holy cross, it will be opened once again to all repentant Christians. Crux Christi clavis Paradisi, that is, “The cross of Christ is the key of paradise,” says John of Damascus. To this, the fathers of the Church relate the key of the house of David, which can open so that no one can shut [Isaiah 22:22]. Let all evil spirits be defied, who would like to lock heaven to us, which the Lord Jesus opened by His cross and death.

—Valerius Herberger

Adam and Eve, in the Lord’s good creation, had a perfect culture of faith. Their wisdom was God’s wisdom, His Word.   But they fell to the serpent’s lie that they could be like God knowing good and evil.  And to know is to control and they could not.  So now the culture of Adam was removed from the perfect culture of Eden as they looked to their own reason, soul and hearts for wisdom. This culture of Adam is visualized in this Cranach woodcut, the Temptation of Eve:

Notice that the serpent has changed himself to look like Eve to entice her with herself!

 The ‘new’ culture, now of the Old Adam is the “cult of the self”(Rev. Pr. Scott Murray). It is the cult of the selfie.  It is the myth of Narcissus (a myth that speaks truth) as narrative of man and woman.  They were cast out by God but by their unbelief they had already cast themselves out.  Judgment is the Lord’s right speaking of  His just judgment. The sign of their ‘new’ culture is that they wanted to be clothed in order to hide their shame.   The Lord Himself finally clothes Adam and Eve.  He creates the new culture, the new creation in Him.  He did not forsake them as they forsook Him.  Clothed in the promise of Christ and His baptism they went forth and the Lord sent His Son, born of the blessed Virgin, so we can be baptized and clothed in Christ, His grace and peace, His forgiveness.  This clothing is never in the styles of world, but only of the Word in the world. The Father planted His Son in the cultures of man to show forth the light of His Word in the darkness.

  O divine Wisdom, incarnate of Mary by the Holy Spirit, become for me the power of God and the wisdom of God, that I might live in the light of Your Word. Amen. 

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