Sunday, May 18, 2008

East of Eden

I know it sounds crazy, but I love weeding. Yes, it is tedious, and no, I never have time enough to do it as well as it should be done, but when I get the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts while I'm doing it, I really love it.

Today it was sunny and breezy and beautiful. It was actually a pleasure sitting outside - on the edge of our flower beds - ripping and pulling at the "thorns and thistles" that were growing, unwelcome, there. I had some uninterrupted time to think... and muse... and pray through some of the current situations in my life. The Lord and I had a lovely couple of hours together.

But I realized, as I spent the afternoon sweating and dirtying my hands, that I enjoyed it on another level beyond that one. There is beauty, and power, and pleasure, I think, in the joining of the work of redemption - even at the smallest and most insignificant of levels. My flower bed looks beautiful now whereas this morning it was riddled with weeds. I have made a difference in the direction of redemption, however small and silly it may be in the grand scheme of things.

I have a friend who claims to love to iron clothes... for much the same reasons, I think.

As I pulled out each weed (or as she irons out each wrinkle), I was able to observe the progress of beauty... the defeat of disorder and ugliness. It was gratifying in its own right, yes. But it was also a spiritual allegory for me.

From Colossians 3: "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. ..

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

"Instructions for Holy Living," my Bible calls this section. And in it I am told how I am able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He works in my life, seeing the ugly parts challenged and removed as the lovely parts are nourished and grown. Yes, the dumb "weeds" of my life will be back again tomorrow, but for today they have been held just a little at bay... at least partly redeemed by a Redeemer who loves to beautify His children. And what glorious news that I don't have to do this myself, but that I can "be confident of this, that he who began a good work in me will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6)!

Until that day, I'll just keep weeding...

(Colossians 3:5-17, from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Co-published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co, Inc., Indianapolis, IN).

1 comment:

iivo said...

You put stuff so well. There is deep hope and joy woven throughout your words.