The Fig Leaf of Pastoral Ministry: Part 4

Part 1 is here
Part 2 is here
Part 3 is here

 “…they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”          
      ā€” Genesis 3:7

Theologians and pastors are quick to point to the gospel in “seed” form in the Garden. God replaces the fig leaves Adam and Eve were wearing and supplied them with clothing.

I’m not all that sure our first parents were all that in tune to all the gospel implications of this act as we are. Don’t get me wrong, it was good news all right. Animal rights folks not withstanding, everyone knows leather is going to be more comfortable than fig leaves.

But there are two things they had to have seen .

First, something had to die for their shame to be covered. They knew something was wrong and they tried to deal with it themselves. But it was insufficient. So God killed something and gave them the skins to cover up their nakedness. This is the first death in the Bible. I’m sure Adam and Eve noticed something died because of what they did.

Second, skin was used to cover skin. The shame manifested itself in the exposure of their own skin and being ashamed of it. The remedy given by God – the offended party, by the way – is more skin. The skin of a dead animal (Lion? Lamb?) was needed to cover their shame. Animals don’t worry about covering their nakedness. They literally have no shame. Skin over skin. They had to have noticed this.

And here I am from 10,00 feet up on the other side of the cross and I had trouble seeing these things.  As a pastor I could not see the death-ness involved. Not only does Christ have to die but we have to die to our belief the fig leaf is any good. And I could not see that my work as a pastor needed to be covered as a pastor. “What’s so wrong with my fig leaf underwear?”

Most pastors can’t see these things at some point. Not sure why. Maybe for the same reason everyone else can’t see it. But we are pastors and we should see it. We trade in this info daily. And maybe because it’s so much a commodity without being a security, we miss it’s worth for ourselves. We become like investment experts who see the worth of a stock, tell others to buy high but pass on it ourselves.

Maybe.

To be continued…

One thought on “The Fig Leaf of Pastoral Ministry: Part 4

  1. Southern Cheesehead September 26, 2011 / 2:15 pm

    These are some of the reasons why our 8 months out of ministry were good for us. We learned a lot about ministry and ourselves. We prayed a lot, studied a lot and confessed and forgave a lot. On the flip side it was also confirmation that God still wanted us in ministry despite our deficiencies and flaws. Right now that means that Ernie has a "regular" full time job and pastors for free. God calls us to do things that sometimes don't make sense to others…or even sometimes ourselves, but we'll continue to follow no matter what.

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