Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lawn mowing and the ministry of reconciliation...

The new mower
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
This morning I rolled my lawnmower out early in a vain attempt to beat the heat. I tried the same thing yesterday, but my faithful Toro, a good four years after it first went critical on me and needed major surgery, finally succumbed to inevitability and coded one last time.
So I shopped around, brought home the cheapest grass-whacker I could find, and put in four hard hours this morning. But the yard is so dry, it’s been over 90-degrees for so long, and all the vegetation is so stressed right now that I caught myself wondering if it’s even worth the effort. “Why not just let it go,” I thought. “What’s the difference?”
But we don’t let it slide (at least not for more than a couple of weeks) because this garden is something we’ve invested in and – in some ways – it’s an extension of who we are. Plus, we don’t live in isolation, we live as a part of the physical space that we occupy. We were created to live in community, and I believe that a complete understanding of community necessarily includes the physical world.
I’ve been thinking about this a little more because I’ve been discussing the concept with some of my friends. “I’ve never liked that song ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through,’” I said. “I’ve always felt like I was created specifically for this world and that the Earth is 100% my home.”
Then another guy said something about believing this life was just a practice run for what comes next, and that he’s never felt anything other than a visitor here.
Maybe it’s because I enjoy my life so much that I feel the way I do. Sure, I’m comfortable with the idea of heaven, and I certainly believe that there is “life-after-death” and that it is tied in to our relationship with God. However, I’m convinced that the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus talked about so much is already in play – eternal life begins the moment I choose to be a disciple. Anything after the transition of death is going to be gravy. But the fullness of life Jesus talked about begins now.
This pointed admonition hangs in our back porch
God designed the Earth, created it it with deliberate craft, and observed that the result was/is “Very good!” Then God designed people, creating each one of us specifically for this world.
So I don’t need any “escape theology!” I don’t need church to be a fortress standing in defiant isolation against the world. What I need is a faith that invites me into reconciliation with the world and into relationship with God. I need a faith that equips me to add light and life, and that challenges me to constantly believe, and love and – in so many ways – to garden.
Yes, we were created – in so many ways – to garden…
So, bloom already! Peace – DEREK

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