December 08-C, 2022

Davidson River 03 10/12/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, North Carolina
Understanding the Bible metaphorically, symbolically,
means finding where the metaphors, the symbols,
come to life in our own life.

For instance, the two gardens are metaphorically
the same garden.

The Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane.
As Eden, Adam and Eve fail the test
of who was in control of their lives,
of where they were finding their guidance,
of what they were living in accord with.

This is the essential test.
Until we are living aligned with the right way,
it is all a wasteland.
The garden disappears,
and we are alone,
on our own,
and, as the story goes,
the Angel of Death guards
the way back to Eden,
and you only go back by dying.

Now, this is a metamorphic death,
a symbolic dying,
a dying to self and living to serve
the unconscious force directing our life.

As Gethsemane, Jesus recognizes 
what is being asked of him in the garden
(Which is the same thing that was asked
of Adam and Eve)
and submits to death
with his, "Thy will, not mine, be done,"
where the "Thy" represents the unconscious force
that knows what's what
and will, if we cooperate, 
direct our life along the way that is the way for us.

Jesus' death is a symbol to us all,
saying, "This is the way it's done!"
His "Come, follow me," was in invitation
to die to self and live aligned with 
the way that is the way,
doing what needs to be done,
when, where and how it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what it may mean for us personally.

Our place is to recognize 
where the garden of choice 
comes to life in our life,
to know what is being asked of us,
and to submit to the unconscious force,
trusting ourselves to it
in a "Thy will be done" kind of way,
and "dying" symbolic to our own preferences,
and wishes,
in doing what needs to be done,
what needs us to do it.

There have been several turning points
like this in my own life,
and I am certain they are to be found 
in your own life as well.
This is where the Bible as Metaphor
comes alive in the life we are living,
and when we read it
we know we are reading about ourselves
and not about the Middle East 
from 2,000 years Before The Common Era.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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