How Do We Thrive In God’s Good World?

We thrive in God’s good world by living not with one foot in heaven and one foot on earth but with both feet in both.  ”The life that leads to heaven is not one of withdrawal from the world but a life in the world. A life of piety apart from a life of kind service does not lead to heaven at all.”  (Heaven and Hell)

That entails work.  This week we looked at the “New Jerusalem”, God’s prophecy of a new church descending onto earth. In this city, the gates were always open, the light always on.  At the center was no longer a temple but a tree – and not just any tree.  It was the tree of life, the same tree from Genesis – creating a beautiful bookend to the Biblical narrative.

We thrive when we get that this life is not something to escape from but something to engage.  Much of that work will be living into the prophecy of the New Jerusalem – gates open, light on.  That may feel vulnerable.  But we always must question what vulerability is.   This scene from Blood Diamond tells a very different story about vulnerability.  It is a scene in which a father finally finds his son – a young boy kidnapped and trained to be a child-soldier in Africa – and attempts to bring him home.

A different view of vulnerability isn’t it.  And it is what the world needs.  As Brian McClarren noted:

“Perhaps the most promising possibility lies with the thousands of SBNRs (spiritual but not religious) who are waiting for something very much like Progressive Christianity to emerge and get down to business. By “business,” I mean the sacred endeavor of loving God and neighbor, stranger, alien, outsider, outcast, and enemy. I mean the work of healing our broken world, the vocation of doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. I mean the spiritual work of forming Christ-like people, and the social enterprise of seeking the common good, beginning with the last, the least, and the lost. Moving forward, little by little, in the robust organic process of God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven—that’s the progress that Progressive Christianity is about.”

Sounds like the New Jerusalem!  Sounds like thriving in God’s good world.

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