It’s called the obliquity of the ecliptic and it’s 23.5 degrees. You most likely already knew that, but just in case you, like me, had never before heard that term, it’s the fancy name of the tilt of the earth away from the sun. (try saying it out loud – and fast. It’s quite amusing, actually – obliquity of the ecliptic!) Anyway, I have a theory never before advanced in the history of man (if you catch my drift). Here goes: the instant the infamous fruit was plucked from the forbidden middle tree in the Garden of Eden, the precision-tuned, Created Order shuddered in surprise and shock and horror! It was knocked off course by an astonishing 23.5 degrees! As if that were not the ultimate traumatic event, when the man, Adam, now off-kilter from his self-initiated seism, proceeded to take a bite of the proverbial apple, a kind of permanent imbalance occurred in his brain, his prefrontal cortex. Shalom was suddenly displaced by the inrush of shame and fear and ingratitude. The shock waves forever altered Adam’s (and our) free and intimate relationship with Abba, ultimately requiring the death of the Second Adam, Jesus, to redeem and restore all of subsequently fallen humanity (I also suspect, had Adam opted to rise up to his full stature and glory and exercise his God-given authority, refusing the serpent’s subterfuge, he could have prevented this entire mess we find ourselves in). This highly inventive imagining of mine ‘explains’ why our brains are preset to hiding, living in pretense, and feeling entitled, hence ungrateful. And it clarifies why consistently generating gratitude is the major workout it proves to be.
Our gratitude emphasis during the month of November is part of our restoration to a fully-orbed Kingdom orientation, a clear Kingdom mindset. Giving thanks, bowing in worship, expressing humble awareness that all we have is from Jesus, from his sacrifice, from his magnanimously manifested Grace, all serve to re-calibrate, re-center, reconfirm the power of the Gospel in our souls. Our continued perseverance in this ‘attitude of gratitude’ may also cause us to be the family, ‘where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.’ I think maybe the whole world is groaning, waiting for this to be true of the Church. What do you say? Shall we instigate a happy kerfuffle? A celebrative coup? A joy-filled revolution? To ponder till we see each other tomorrow at 10 AM, Eastern STANDARD Time (US clocks back an hour, y’all), 3 PM UK, 4 PM FR. PD