Weekend: Lessons from backyard and bible
While on the surface, they appear to be two wildly different worlds, they came together this morning in my quiet moments in the backyard. Everything’s becoming new these days in the backyard: deciduous trees have new leaves. Evergreens have new needles. And all kinds of things are popping out of the ground, including the health-enhancing dandelion, and the flower (name unknown) whose blossoms serve no purpose known to me other than that of being beauty. As I’m paying attention, I’m now thinking about DNA and reproductive cycles, of seasons and how both temperature and longer days play roles in all that I’m seeing. Francis Collins book, the Language of God is helping me understand the building blocks of the universe, and though there’s much more to say about this, I’ll offer only one quote: “The God of the Bible is also the God of the
Meanwhile, I’m also looking at these things through the lens of questions about change and finding the life for which we’re made, whether as individuals, or as the people of God called the church.
The dandelion reminds me that we’re made for reproduction. I’m not talking about babies here. I’m talking about using the life we’ve been given to impart life “wherever the wind blows us” as Jesus said. I think of the parable of the talents, and of the guy who just kept what was given to him, protecting it lest it get stolen or damaged. “Wrong,” is what Jesus says about that. All that we’ve been given, all that we enjoy, all that is the abundance of our life, exists to be spread, for the blessing of others. This is the life for which we’re made!
Ha! Did you catch that? All you have is a tree? All you have is the miracle of reproductive and sustaining life. All you have is a creation that exhales oxygen for us, and shelters life, and creates the foundation of forest ecosystems that are integral to our planet in ways that we’re just starting to understand, now that the rainforests are disappearing. “Just a tree” is a nonsense statement. But it’s “just” in the sense that all the excitement is gone, for now at least.
I fear that our lust for lives like the sitcoms, or romantic comedies is helping make a world where common green is seen is so boring as to not be worth the time. Hear this! Special green only comes along once in a great while. Take a picture. Savor it. But celebrate ‘normal’ too, because that’s where the real growth is happening.
“Just a church?” Every day I get stuff in my inboxes about the fastest growing churches, or the most incarnational churches, or the churches doing discipleship or being missional, and all of it makes the green of my own leadership appear downright boring by contrast. We just show up together to bear witness to the fact that, because Jesus lives, everything’s different. We do this by sharing life, studying the Word, and serving together to make God’s reign visible. Lots of days look like yesterday. Tomorrow? Maybe similar. It’s tempting to want to make big changes because we’re “just a tree.” Maybe. But there are many, many, days, weeks, months, when the best thing we can do is keep showing up, trusting that God’s changing churches the way he changes redwood trees: slowly, but inexorably growing so that they can be a beautiful blessing to others.
That was my morning: the worlds of science, Bible, church vision, and what it means to live faithfully, all blended into a seamless cloth during coffee with God. I wanted to share it with you…even though it’s the weekend. Cheers!
BLOG TOUR UPDATE: Because The Colors of Hope has just come out, a few folks are writing about it.
Nathan Sovonske posted a review on Amazon, and he’s got a great blog, with the same review, here.
Tim Thurman posted the book trailer on his blog, which can be found here.
As I shared earlier in the week, I’m convinced that, in our time of polarized politics and theology, the message from “Colors” is vitally important. Thanks for your help in getting the word out.