What did you think when you got your provisional licence?
How did you feel when you gave someone – or received – an engagement ring?
This article, by editor in chief of Christianity Today, David Neff, is about what it means to be living in a limited world. To be waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom of God, in the same way that having our L’s or P’s or an engagement ring is a significant waiting time for a promise to be realised.
It is about a promise of something else to come: the fullness of the Kingdom of God. But that it is important for us to live well waiting in that promise. Neff writes,
seeing Creation as promise prevents us from treating it as mere raw material.”
While I agree much of this article, I’m not sure about his argument that polarizes putting creation on an idol-like pedestal or turning it into a worthless material fit only to be consumed by us. There is a deeper and richer discussion to be had about what lies in the middle of these two frameworks.
For example, he illustrates his point by referring to the significance of natural cycles for pagan cultures of the Old Testament times, and argues that instead Christians should see the world through the lens of history. Yet God has instituted the seasons and the cycles of the world. Our lives are governed by these seasons. Surely it is good to praise God for, and celebrate His gifts to us in this Divine Ordering, and that we can do so without worshipping the created over the Creator?
I agree with Neff when he calls for Christians, Evangelicals (especially pietist and revivalist strands) included, to embrace not only personal salvation but that the whole of Creation will be redeemed as well (referring to Paul in Romans 8:20-24).
When we remember that a restored humanity in a restored Eden is the crowning vision of Scripture, we come to see ourselves and our responsibilities in a bigger, broader landscape.”
He argues that we should care for creation not primarily out of our own self-interest, but because God loves it and has grand plans for it.
Finally, he calls us to contemplate what Jesus meant, when he asks us to love our ‘neighbour’.
Yet I would throw into his question thoughts from Sara Miles,who writes:
[a]pparently Jesus thinks there are two kinds of people in the world: our neighbours, whom we are to love. And our enemies, whom we are to love.”
What are your thoughts about how the coming of God’s Kingdom influences our daily lives now? Who are our neighbours and how can we love them?