August 8, 2017
A kindly friend asked me to share my thoughts on the Bible, Jesus and stewardship of land and water.
Books, big books, and then some, have been written on all of this, but here goes, my version, and brief …
It’s here … and can’t be ignored. It’s been read by millions as “holy writ” … God’s Word and all of that. In the hands of some, it’s become a weapon, to hurt. For others, a means to heal. Why it should be so easily used for such diametrically opposed purposes is a clue to the nature of the Bible - it’s here, and it refuses to tell us how to read it. It’s up to us.
And speaking of that, it’s important for us to know something of our own story - the values we hold, the kind of family that reared us, and what it is that moves us.
Knowing that will shed some light on how we read the Bible. Angry people find anger; frightened people find fear; proud people find support for their pride; hurting people find hope; lost people guidance; generous people love.
I think there’s a dialogue of sorts between us and the Bible … but much of what we read is determined by what we bring to it.
And maybe the Holy Spirit … but that’s for another book or so.
He’s there … in the text … in the hymns and stories of faith. The Bible never quite says, “This is who he is.” It leaves a lot to the imagination.
No doubt, there are some who shy away from Jesus and would rather read stuff from the Old Testament, about conquering, killing and punishment. It makes them feel better, in a very strange sort of way.
Jesus himself seems to have his favorite items … it’s important, or so I think, to pay attention to that.
To follow Jesus is not easy … nor should it be.
To know something of Jesus may well lead us to the Father … or remind us that the Father is our Father … and to God we belong, in life and in death. Period.
Is there anything after this life?
Whatever one says, it’s helpful to ask why we would want that?
When it comes to Jesus, I like to think that we need someone like him to take our hand, when, like Peter, we in water over our heads, which happens a great deal.
We’re wonderful, and shitty, all at the same time … we need something, grace; we need someone, Jesus, to tip the scales toward the wonderful side of things. The shitty part remains, but with some help, it doesn’t have to be so strong. Better angels, and all of that.
Anyway, back to Jesus … he’s there, in the text … Christianity is all about him … though Christianity has paid less attention to what he said and did, and mostly to his death … a bloody business that seems to please a lot of folks, who claim it as their passage way to happy times after this life. Oh well …
I think Jesus remains enigma … and so he should … yet some things are clear, at least for me: be kind, be loving, forgive quickly and deeply … hang in there … give rather take … again, the Holy Spirit … but, as Is I say, that’s another book, and likely a big one.
God helps us, I think … some have tried to turn this into a religious business, and put it on TV. But that pretty well messes it all up.
To follow Jesus … yes.
And better, far better, to do that with others.
In the end, to hope that others will say our life was worth the living, that they’re grateful to have known us, and in our own little way, we made this a better world. For me, in the mix of all of this, Jesus remains … for me, from little on … to this very moment … Jesus.
Stewardship of land and water.
They are here.
And of God.
And good …
To use them, yes … but with care.
Endless exploitation for short-term pleasure is the death of these remarkable elements, and then our death. Endless technology will not save us from our own greed.
Pay attention to what land and water say to us. If we listen, we hear the word of life, and words of warning, too. They will survive us, outlive us. Or maybe, like Mars, one day they’ll be gone, too, and this blue-green planet will turn dry and read and barren.
But until then …
To honor land and water is to honor God … to honor what God made … what God declares good, and what God intends to hold together for a new heaven and a new earth.
For me, putting it all together, the Bible, Jesus, land and water … they’re all here, one way or the other … before I got here, and after I’m gone … and it pays to pay attention, serious attention, to things of this magnitude. They’re bigger than me; much bigger, and hold lessons and memories and majesty.
Can only hope and pray, work and weave … and sing, “This is my Father’s world” … or Mother’s, too … because God is both, and then some … but that’s for another book, a very, very, very, big one.