Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Gone for Good?

"For the things we see are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal"

Have you ever tried living in a home that is undergoing major renovation? Perhaps you have been spared the total mayhem, frustration and sheer 'scream-ability' that can ensue from such a venture, but it can also give us an image of the spiritual realities of the present - life going on 'between' the two realms of the fallen and the redeemed. It can also give us a better way of approaching the apparent contradictions we face in the tension of this existence.

Some things seem pretty 'solid' within such a project - the foundations of the house, the ground floor, those things which are tenable and immediate that we readily depend upon to give us reference and an amount of definition in our everyday lives. Grace is most certainly found here. The God who placed the seal of His promise in the sky equally hallows every day with the provision of sun and rain, seed-time and harvest, and uses the fruits of that order, bread and wine, to speak to us of the marvel of His redeeming work. Such mercies cannot help but to raise our eyes, and make us wonder about other "levels" of the 'house' we have been promised;
surely, we now have no abiding place here, so should we not climb the stairs....

The Apostle who spoke, guardedly, of the wonders to come, also spoke of how, by experience, he came to learn that God's grace in the here and now, is entirely sufficient, for the present, and there is a key reason for this...

After His feeding of a great crowd, Jesus commanded the disciples to collect all that was left from the feast. Whilst all the Gospels record the event, John tells us that the reason for doing so was so that 'nothing may be lost' (John 6:12).
When Jesus spoke about Hell, He often used the image of Gehenna, the local rubbish tip outside of Jerusalem, which was filled with things which had become spoiled and wasted.
The focus of Christ's great work amongst us is to truly SAVE that which was lost, corrupted by sin and death. There is, then, a 'gathering', a 'reconciling' aspect to our current engagement with this present temporal realm, a life which can savor and fragrance what would otherwise be fit only for the fire, because it can bring heaven down to earth, and grant us to glimpse how God, in Christ, has made the way open to the 'many realms' that are coming.

In His good work, nothing shall be lost.

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