Fall 2019 Pastor’s Message
"I am a fall risk." We all repeated it in unison, like a proclamation, or a prayer. This is what I remember most about the "hip class" I took before I had my left hip replaced this summer. Following my surgery I wore a yellow plastic band on my wrist that announced it to the world, and to me: FALL RISK.
Chances are I was the only one in my class to begin to ponder, through my clergy-colored glasses and theologically-tuned ears, how being a "fall risk" might be closer to the heart of our human journey in relationship to the God who creates, redeems and sustains us, than more traditional notions or doctrines of "the fall" or "the fall of man."
Perhaps you've heard of "the fall," or seen Michelangelo's or Albrecht Durer's or another's masterful depictions, or read the third chapter of Genesis. Two humans, one God, a beautiful garden with a tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a divine commandment not to eat of this one tree (just this one), a crafty serpent, an amazing finger pointing or "she said/he said" moment, and well, one could say, things really go downhill, or "fall" from there! Though not named such in the Bible, a doctrine or teaching of "the fall" of humanity, from innocent obedience to God to willful disobedience, all in one bite, has and continues to flavor much of traditional Christian theology.
So, I wonder, what might it mean for us to move from the notion of having been born "fallen" and in or with some "hereditary stain" called "original sin," to the idea of being born as "fall risks," blessed by "original blessing" (Matthew Fox, et al.) and implored by God and one another to learn to:
- walk with an awareness of our own capacity for good and evil--yes, I am quite capable of both
- move more slowly and intentionally through the world and our lives
- pay attention; really, pay attention
- welcome assistance from other people, teachers, companions on the way; anyone or anything that may benefit us as we make our way, one step at a time
- value, consider, and prayerfully proceed with every step we take, literally and figuratively
I am definitely still working on all of this and expect to be working on it as long as I live. My faith and my theology are dynamic processes that keep growing and changing along with my relationship with God, the sacred texts of the Bible, and God's people everywhere. I do not believe I am a "fallen" human being, but I have little doubt that I am, and will continue to be, a "fall risk." Thanks be to God!