I’ve always wanted to know stuff. I have loved school and studying and school supplies all my life. When Pete and I were newlyweds, he insisted we attend church (a fact he shared on our honeymoon, not in crucial conversations prior to engagement). It saved my anxious, agitated life. As a student, I didn’t initially take to church like a duck to water, but I did do my homework. When our bible study teacher suggested we read this book or that, study a particular book of the bible or meditate on a certain series of verses – by golly, I did it. I wasn’t sure I knew if the book was old or new testament; I had NO historical context; I did have a high level of suspicion about its veracity. But I brought my student-self into the church; I may have been under-educated, but I was a sincere and willing pupil.
Early on it seemed so dang obvious to me that the bible, if it was to be believed, was clear on a couple of things: 1. God created the world in the beginning out of nothing and 2. God will create a new world at the end out of the old one, the details of which are unknown to anyone – even Jesus.
Here’s how Volf describes (Flourishing, p.11) these tenets: “The Christian faith makes the immodest claim that globalization – the present state of interconnectivity and interdependence in the world, the whole process that led to it, and the capitalist market working in tandem with the “spirit of insatiability” that today mainly drives it – is just one moment in the grand arc of history that starts with creation and ends with the new creation. God created the world in the beginning out of nothing (ex nihilo); God will create a new world at the end out of the old one (ex vetere). Both of these creations are God’s acts; humans weren’t around for the first, and it is beyond our powers to bring about the second. Hence we pray: “Come, Lord!” And we wait.”
This worldview matters. Because if I follow this logic to its natural conclusion (for me), then it means that a lot of bad s**** can go down, but the first and last word are God’s – and no one else’s. And I can trust this. Because I can trust Him. I grew up in a family of four kids, three boys and me, the oldest. I remember one time when we were acting outrageously and I in particular smart mouthed my mom. She started chasing me around the living room with the vacuum cleaner streaming behind her, waving the floor attachment and yelling, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!” Once she ran out of cord, she stopped. I turned and glared from a safe distance away. I regarded her with disdain unique to an eight year old who just knows that her mother never ever leaves her vacuum cleaner behind. I started to laugh; she began to giggle. The utter ridiculousness of the situation hit our funny bones and let me tell you, once my mother starts laughing, it’s hard to get her stopped. On that day, something in my child brain just knew – my mom is not the one who is in charge of bringing me in and taking me out of this world. It took a couple of decades to fall in love with the God who was and is and forever will be around for the start and ending of things. I suspect we all know this intuitively way down deep in our bones. When daffodils continue to bloom even though we have troubles to the left of us, and troubles to the right. When babies continue to incubate in their mama’s wombs, even though people keep telling us that the world is about to end. We have moments of clarity when we realize that no matter what anyone says, God is in this place. Moments of miracles. Moments of loving kindness. Moments of grace and mercy. Today, be that moment for someone, and let’s see what happens from there!
To be continued…