Tuesday, 7 January 2014
The Winter Harvest
It's really been a season to stay indoors - the storms have been extraordinary and powerful reminders of just how small we are before such forces, but such enclosure allows for times to settle down and refresh ourselves in the value of a faith that shows us how we can be rescued not only from our own sin, but equally from our own goodness.
In countless face book postings or more refined and detailed guides, we are constantly offered a plethora of 'recipes' that, if followed, will apparently make life more in some fashion, but all of these "gems" have one thing in common - they come from the premise that we're all pretty OK, just in need of a little philosophical 'tweaking' so we can truly get our act together.
It's astonishing just how religious people are about this, and there are also plenty of Christians who think their faith is essentially about God making us virtuous enough to keep the Law (i.e. the 10 commandments), but such self-certainty is, essentially, a fatal blindness to the horror that lurks within us behind a screen which, when removed, bluntly reveals the true depth of disaster that has befallen each of us.
Truth which is life-changing starts here - with a full and sobering look at what we really are. We begin to realize that we are, oh so readily, part of a society which hurriedly hides away from the reality of the human condition - the inner malady that breeds hatred, bitterness, anger, greed and the like, which so often ignites into violence. It is that ugly truth we want to escape (hence our busy condoning of anything which distracts), because we know, in ourselves, we have no answer, no resolve, to what poisons us.
We have to look beyond the delusion that life can be better if we just do this or have that - those who offer us such trinkets merely blind us to the fact that the only aid and rescue must come from outside our of us by one coming amongst us to set us free from such slavery. We entirely need a deliverance from the powers which enslave us - sin and death - and from the folly that our superficial goodness could ever begin to impact upon such dreadful depths.
All that is - everything we see - was created from nothing. In the same manner in which creation was brought into being by the Word of God, so the miracle of new life begins in us - the message about Jesus Christ, of God giving Himself, to make us a new creation.
The truth is stark.
We can resolve to wallow in the grime of a universe without any real meaning, value or hope, where everyone and everything is concluded in death, or we can look beyond these bounds because of the author of life who has made such deliverance possible.
There's much to unpack about the astonishing message of God's reconciling work in Christ, but perhaps we need to start the New Year with this sobering and vital reflection, because then we can begin to see just how astonishing God's work for us has been.