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Sunday, November 11, 2018

10: Synchronicity

            Jasmine didn’t know it yet, but she was about to discover a pattern within the kingdom: when one embarks upon a spiritual quest, synchronicities appear to guide the pilgrim upon her path.  Was it merely coincidence that a few days ago, a whisper of mystery had prompted her to find out who Eve is and, today, the radio preacher Jasmine turned on had chosen for his topic “The Fall”?  Carl Jung would say, “No, not ‘coincidence,’ but ‘synchronicity.’”  Jung defined “synchronicity” as “meaningful coincidence,” but it could be further defined as “divine coincidence”: those connections that are divinely ordained to help guide a seeker upon his path.
            Cast from her church, Jasmine decided that Sunday morning she would “do church” by listening to one of the popular radio preachers.  She had never heard of this preacher, but she found one whose voice didn’t scream.  Given Jasmine’s stereotypes of radio preachers, his voice and tone sounded unusually rational.  Little did she expect him to spend much of his sermon on Eve.
            Having been carefully taught from her childhood church’s “BE” program to always bring her Bible to church, Jasmine had her Bible opened to Genesis 3 to follow along.  Unlike the pastors at the churches she had always attended, this one did not begin with the scripture passage, but bounced all over it, reading the passages relevant to his message, so Jasmine opted to multi-task reading the chapter and listening to his sermon.
            “Men, do you know why you toil at work?” the preacher asked.  “Do you know why you are getting interrupted by people calling you to sell stuff you don’t want nor need?  Or why you are finding your e-mail inbox overloaded, much of it with spam, while the messages from your boss get hidden in the inundation?   Or why you find yourself unable to discreetly take leave from the office gossip when you just wanted to warm up your coffee?  Or why you knock heads with your supervisor who insists on the most inefficient way to get the job done?  Or why you’re fighting viruses on your computer, battling red tape in your bureaucracies, or getting earfuls from clients who blame you for their mistakes?”  Jasmine could resonate with all of his examples, and her mind added more of them, not only from the businesses where she had worked, but also from the school where she was now teaching.  The preacher continued, “Do you want to know why you face all of these seemingly unnecessary pressures?  It’s the thorns, men, the thorns you toil at work.”
            Jasmine’s mind stopped at the word, “men.”  She knew all of those thorns and more, as did every one of her female friends.  What century, Jasmine wondered, is this radio preacher living in?  Since he had perfectly nailed what “thorns” are like in today’s society, his internal clock couldn’t be too far off.  Perhaps that single word was an unconscious slip from his early days as a pastor.  Jasmine decided to let it go and keep listening.
But she felt another sting when he blamed the women for the “men’s” toil.  As Eve had been the “first” to “fall,” the preacher accused her of “tempting the man to join her as an accomplice in their crime.”  He added in a pre-caution: “Be careful, men, not to heed bad advice.”  Reading along in Genesis 3, Jasmine smiled at the irony.  The preacher seemed to be doing the same as Adam: “She made me do it.”  Had he caught Adam’s words?  “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it“ (Genesis 3:12, NIV).
            The preacher seemed not to have caught the irony, but, at least, he included women in his following admonishment: “This pertains to all of us.  We each need to heed good advice, as King David taught: ‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked’” (Psalm 1:1).   Naturally, the preacher put in a plug to honor one’s leaders and accept the sound counsel of those in positions of authority, presumably, of course, his counsel and that of other church leaders. 
            Cynical though Jasmine may have been, she was grateful she didn’t turn off the preacher mid-sermon, because he closed with a disclaimer showing he did not believe Eve was all bad, nor did he place full blame upon her alone.  “Perhaps we place too much blame on the woman for being the first to fall, when she was deceived by a seemingly divine and, as the text states, ‘cunning’ creature.  Adam fell fully upon the prompting of another human, but Eve followed a ‘cunning’ creature she may have thought she could trust.”  Jasmine sighed some relief the preacher admitted this.  He continued, “She should have known, of course, to trust God.  But we should not over-criticize her for falling for a deception.  Instead, we should take precautions ourselves to be awake and alert, ever following Christ, our Master, so as to avoid falling into the traps of the Enemy.”
Jasmine had heard many such messages; at this moment, the preacher was speaking her language.  She was glad he was not the all-blame or Eve-is-all-black type, recognizing in her some understandably human traits and giving her the benefit of the doubt as one who was, at heart, neither “disobedient,” nor “a temptress,” but “deceived.”
Then, in order to warn against the “cunning” ways the “Enemy” might deceive today, the preacher added another precaution that caught Jasmine’s attention: over-trusting one’s perception of seemingly divine guidance that is, in fact, deceptive.  He gave examples of visions, dreams, and messages that could appear to be from the Holy Spirit, but, could in fact be from the darker side of the heavenly realms. 
Would this include her “whispers of mystery”?  How could she be sure these messages were not from the dark, but from the Light?  She prayed the Spirit would help her to answer this question, and, in the meantime, she would be cautious, not taking them fully at face value, until she was sure they were from the Light.
The preacher moved to conclude his sermon, having never quite touched on Eve’s curse.  And it was quite a curious one.  Though he had skipped around the passage and not read it, BE Bible-trained Jasmine had, of course, opened to the passage in her Bible.  To her astonishment, Eve was cursed with more than just pain in childbirth: 
“To the woman, He said,
‘I will greatly multiply
your pain in childbirth.
In pain you shall bring forth children.
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you’”
Jasmine marveled over the final statement.  The Bible really says that?     
 © 2018 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use with permission or a citation that links to this blog.

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