Sunday Worship, November 8 2015
Sermon by pasteur Marc Pernot
The epic of Star Wars will have a 7th movie in a few weeks, so that we have an exhibition on that theme at the moment in the Louvre.
Another saga is more well known, old of 4000 years, it is older than pharaohs, it comes from the beginning of the birth of the writing : the Bible opens itself on a wonderful saga in 4 books telling the efforts that God makes to create a dignified human being of God's hope :
This epic of the human being creation ends so on the rising of Abraham, who will live as God's friend, but this is another saga, the one of the Patriarchs.
In each of the 4 books of this epic of creation, we can see the human being to go further from the best he received, we see him to research, to try, to discover, we can see him to do mistakes and to do good things. And at each step, God gave a helping hand so that the human being can go forward through his failures as his success. It is a real source of encouragement for us. As the heroes of this epic, we can do step by step in our life. We have the right to do mistakes.
We see how this saga continues through the 4 stories which are part of it, what the characters discover as treasures on the way, and what is the motor of this progress despite everything that happens. Because this saga tells us about our life, how it becomes good and real.
The human being is done so that each generation, each person can live again quickly all our evolution : from the first living cell on earth, becoming an human being more and more capable and complex. The purpose of this evolution is to be an human being as good and as awesome as Christ.
How are we doing to evoluate in that manner in a few years, 120 maximum, whereas it has taken billions of years to go from the birth of the first human cell to the first human beings ? All of that works partly alone and it is marvallous. But if we were alone at birth and naked on a desert island, we would have no chance to live, and in all cases, we would be very limited in our own development, unable to speak any word. This incredible evolution we have known works with an education allowing us to rise on the shoulders of past generations.
The Bible, with this epic in 4 books about creation, invite us to receive profits from this experience of past generations in order to gain time in our evolution and to go futher, to be a little better.
It shows us a project and says to be careful. The project is to cultivate and to keep the garden of creation, says the text. To keep it, meaning to conserve it fit, is already a good program. But God gives us rather as project to keep the creation by cultivating it, that means not to keep only the result, but to keep the world in evolution, and to do it free, according to our own creativity. It is normal that, to keep the creation, we have to keep its evolution, because only those who adapt and evoluate themselves are alive and have a chance to stay through the time. And us, human beings, we are better than being alive, we are called to be a source of evolution.
The danger we learned in this first story is directly connected to this power. We receive as a human being the capacity and the mission to be a creator. So, there is only one step to be God himself. To be God himself is a source of big disasters, and our world is suffering of those disasters. But being God himself makes us unhappy too, because it is not true. And we forget that God is a specialist of decisive pulses to go further.
Through the success and the mistakes of the past generation, the two brothers integrated their discovers. Cain and Abel have their own project to change the world, one by cultivating flowers, trees and fruits, the other one by taking care of animals. It is very good. They learned not to be God himself, by worshiping each of them on their own, they recognized that God is God and not themselves. Very very good. But there is not only the world which must evoluate, both of them must evoluate too, must discover something to be more human. Otherwise : danger.
The story of Adam and Eve learn us that we have a mission and a God. The story of Cain and Abel tell us that we have relatives around us and that it is also important in order to be an human being. The new and additional mission : it is to feel self his brother's keeper. The danger, it is to be jealous, not to speak together, to murder together.
He is a righteous man, walking with God, he is able to launch in incredibe projects to keep the creation, he has a true good family. Through the success and the mistakes of past generations, Noah memorized all of both precedent gaps of our saga of creation.
His own challenge is to discover how to affront the violence and the badness of humanity.
The first way is elitism : to keep humans only who are perfect and eleminate the others by an enormous wave. The evolution that is suggesting this third story of the saga is to undestand that each human being as his own part of evil, and even if we have the tentation to eliminate him, it is better to conlude a deal with him, to appreciate the best in him too.
Humanity understood everything and received from the precedent stories.
On paper, everything is there. Moreover, there is no word in the text to say what the human beings do would be bad. On the contrary, God comes to see and says thanks to this basis »Now there will be nothing impossible in everything they would have decide to do ». It is a nice compliment. This creativity, this elevation, and this peace that characterize them are a strong force. But because there is this 4th book in the saga of creation, it is because it is missing a last step, the most delicate, the most decisive because that one will allow to enter in the next saga, the one with Abraham who is described as God's friend and the benediction of so many people and so many generations.
In fact, there are two new things in the Babel story :
God does not demolish the city, but He stops the construction to send them from this place to all over the world. Then, the city is a departure point, a backswing. Then there is a time to build the city and a time to leave it. A time to strengthen and a time to invest your strength in an exploration. A time to be in a group and a time to go on your own way in the direction of new people. There is a time of elevation with our own strength too and a time to abandon ourself in the hands of God who goes upon you and give us a new impulse, unknown of us.
After that time of dispersion, everyone has his own business. It can be a new time of gathering to renew your strength together. The human life is like a heartbeat with diastole and systole, the human life is like a breath with something invisible that comes from God and a personal expression.
Indeed the tower is not demolished at all, it is not useful to help God to come, of course, but to prepare ourselves. It is the role of the philosophy, the theology and church services. But we see in this saga that it is not enough. If the secret of human life was a simple wisdom, we will only need a manual, such as a simple machine. But we see step by step there are new directions that come alive. The creation of the human being is not a lesson that is learnt, it is an evolution with many multiple milestones.
Likewise, it is good to work on what brings us together and a time to learn that we are all different. It is an evidence on paper but it is not so easy to measure in reality, it requires a great finesse, a respect and a benevolence.
With one voice, the people of Babel tells us : « We will name ourselves, in order not to disperse. »
When everyone will launch on his own to the 4 corners of the Earth, will be that project broken ? Because, when everyone will go to his own direction, then they will be united by their own dynamism, they are united by the strength that they have taken together, united by this impulse of life that they have received from the same God. They are all with their manner an explorer living with authenticity.
Then they are now so much more united than before, by a more deeper union than before.
That's why in the christian church, it is possible to begin to search a union by common dogmas, by common rules, and by the physical resemblance in a same location. This is like the construction of the town and the tower, with one language only, and in searching to name ourselves, with other words in searching to give sense to what we live. But it is possible to evoluate, thanks to God, in a deeper union where everything that is common to us is to have an impulse and to be an explorer and an entrepreneur with its own manner, a missionary and a rescuer, a genius and a artist on his own contruction site. Then, what makes unity is God himself.
That's why, in our society, we can name people each other such as « Parisians », or « French », « European » or « Canadian », « Christian », « Oratorian », « Muslim », « man » or « woman », and so much other names that we share with other people, but we have each of us our own name, our personality. The fact to be ourselves is dignified and it takes nothing to others, on the contrary.
That's why Abraham and Sarah will listen a call to move, and their own name will move following to their own way with testings and meetings with God. But it is another story, another great and wonderful saga that speak of us too.
One of the main engine of the evolution in these stories, to do step by step, it is the sincerity of these heroes, it is their boldness. They take initiatives, they try, sometimes too much, but they do with sincerity.
The other engine of his evolution, it is God. Would be the hero guilty like Adam and Eve or Caïn. Would be the hero a good disciple like Noah or the humanity of Babel. In all cases, God comes to have a look. He is interested in seeing what we do, he lets surprise himself, and he does everything as much as possible to have the best of our success or our mistakes. So, the human being is capable to make wonders, crossing his mistakes, exploring his limits, going further, upper.
By sincerity, boldness, and the divine spark.
Merci à Denis pour la traduction !
Vous pouvez réagir en envoyant un mail au pasteur Marc Pernot.
1 And all the earth had one language and one tongue.
2 And it came about that in their wandering from the east, they came to a stretch of flat country in the land of Shinar, and there they made their living-place.
3 And they said one to another, Come, let us make bricks, burning them well. And they had bricks for stone, putting them together with sticky earth.
4 And they said, Come, let us make a town, and a tower whose top will go up as high as heaven; and let us make a great name for ourselves, so that we may not be wanderers over the face of the earth.
5 And the Lord came down to see the town and the tower which the children of men were building.
6 And the Lord said, See, they are all one people and have all one language; and this is only the start of what they may do: and now it will not be possible to keep them from any purpose of theirs.
7 Come, let us go down and take away the sense of their language, so that they will not be able to make themselves clear to one another.
8 So the Lord God sent them away into every part of the earth: and they gave up building their town.
9 So it was named Babel, because there the Lord took away the sense of all languages and from there the Lord sent them away over all the face of the earth.