Loving the World

“The world is going to hell in a handbasket!”

Popular saying

Heard that lately?  It’s a common refrain.  Apparently, climate change is going to wipe out most of the world we humans are used to over the next few decades.

Or perhaps the Super-Powers will finally bluff and bluster themselves into some terrible corner where to back down means such humiliation that the unthinkable becomes the probable.

If you’re of an apocalyptic persuasion, the end of the world is nigh, and the wheels of destruction are inexorably moving us to the verge of the abyss.  For some religious types, this may even be a back-door good thing.  After all, the rain of fire-and-brimstone ends with the return of the King of kings to bring final judgement upon the unrepentant and vindication and elevation to the righteous and redeemed.

I confess I am what some people would label a “religious” Christian.  I still actually go to church and read the Bible pretty regularly.  However, contrary to the typical stereotype of people like me which prevails among the “secular” majority in Canada and the West in general, I do not hate this world or yearn for the final fiery finale which seems to have been prophesied as looming over our heads since Yeshua took His physical leave of earth almost two thousand years ago.

On the contrary, I love this planet, this incredible world, and this amazing thing we call life in which we, the living, are enmeshed according to the Creator’s unfathomable wisdom, design, and intention.  I make no pretense to having a theology adequate to explain this illimitable universe and the depths of all its intricacy.  It is all so far above and beyond any human conception and ability to comprehend that I must perforce keep any effort to know anything to within quite humble and limited bounds.

What do I think I know?  There is a Creator.  The Creator is an eternal, unbounded Being (except insofar as He/She chooses to bound Him-Herself).  The Creator has acted and revealed Him-Herself as a Personal Being, as a relating Being, infinite yet choosing to relate directly to the finite – us and the created realm.  Person-to-person.  The Creator’s signature and stamp and brush-strokes are clear and distinctive in everything – every snowflake, every plant, every rock, every star, every planet, every individual entity from the least to the greatest.

And greatest mystery of all, the Creator chose to become an actual, living, breathing human being – two thousand years ago – to live here on this planet among ordinary folks like you and me, to share our sorrow, to know our pain, to heal our brokenness – or at least offer us the way to healing.  To give us a clear choice and possibility to return to the One from whom we had turned away, and may still turn away.

There was a beginning; there will be an end.

But there is also a NOW!  There is a call to be and to become, to accept or reject.  As some verses in the New Testament (and the Psalms) put it, “Today is the day of salvation.  Today is the acceptable time.  Do not put aside the call to return to Him-Her till tomorrow, for you do not know that you have tomorrow.  That is presumption.  Grace is here now, today.  The Creator’s hand is extended to us today.  Every new day while you breathe is “today”, a day when the Voice goes forth to us through all the works of His-Her hands.”

When I walk among the trees, down a path, over a field, through a garden; when I stand on a mountain- or hill-side, when I feel the gentle summer breeze and the cold snap of the winter wind on my face, when I plunge into the rushing water of the river or the rolling waves of the sea, when I gaze enrapt into the eyes of a newborn, or those of the one I specially love, when I stand awestruck under the starlit vault of the heavens, everywhere and in everything, from the least blade of grass to the most awesome, lofty white pine back of my home, from the weary face of the commuter on the bus to the happiest child with the best surprise in her hands, I see the Creator! (The Holy Spirit in both the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible is feminine, if you didn’t know!) 

Unwrap the grave-bindings imprisoning your souls and behold all the awesome wonders He-She has wrought.  Set aside your right to be offended by the quirky turns of phrase and jerky behaviours of those who make you uncomfortable. 

Look at the world of wonder that is everywhere around us all the time – even in the deepest ocean depths and hottest sands of Death Valley.  Read Psalm 139 to (re)meet the One with whom we have to do.  Even if you are not “a religious type” you cannot avoid that One.  He-She sees you all the time, everywhere, and knows everything about you, from first to last.  You are not alive by accident, whatever the laws of chance and natural selection may seem to say about it.

The call goes out every day and every second of every day.  As Psalm 19 (paraphrased) puts it, “Each day pours out speech, and each night transmits knowledge, without words, beyond words.”

Blaise Pascal once said, “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing about.”  He was a brilliant scientist and mathematician few could outthink and outreason.  But he knew that no amount of reason and science could fill the void in the human heart.  He also said that the human heart was created with a God-shaped vacuum.  Only God can fill the emptiness at the core of each of our beings.  If we will not fill it by entering a personal communion with the One who made us for Him-Herself, the vacuum will still demand to be filled.  But nothing but the life of the Creator taken into oneself can bring it true peace, the “peace that surpasses all understanding” even in the midst of pain, sorrow, turmoil, and heartbreak.

The one who came to bring us that peace was the One the Creator sent two thousand years ago and who came to his first followers when they were utterly shattered and told them, “Peace be with you!” and breathed that peace into them.

That is when our eyes really begin to see the wonders of this world, its real beauties, its radiant testimony.  It is not gone, but we have gone blind and driven it afar off with our devastations and exploitations, both of the planet of one another. 

Even so, the light shines, the sun rises, the rain falls on the just and unjust, and will continue to do so until the Creator finally tells the Risen One, “It is enough.  Go back and reclaim Your own.”

Published by VJM

Vincent is a retired High School teacher and an ordained Christian minister in Ontario, Canada. He is an enthusiastic student of History, life, and human nature. He has loved writing since he was a kid. He has been happily married for over 45 years and has 4 grown children and nine grandchildren. He and his wife ran a nationally successful Canadian Educational Supply business for home educators and private schools for fifteen years. Vincent has published Study Guides for Canadian Social Studies, a biography of a Canadian Father of Confederation, and short semi-fictional accounts of episodes in Canadian History. He is currently working on a number of writing projects in both non-fiction and fiction. Vincent is a gifted teacher and communicator.

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