26th June, 2012
BRUCE C WEARNE
Is this my Lord the purpose of my days
To spend like Simon searching, hoping
As if the goal of all my life be spent
Learning how the knee is bent
It seems that quest is lurching, groping
For that sublime moment when You amaze.
Is this my Lord the purpose of my days
To spend like Anna praying, fasting
As if the consolation of all my life is found
Bending low before you on the ground
The consolation is still staying, lasting
Until that redemption when You blaze.
GOING OUR OWN WAY? It is the love of Jesus Christ "which alone can give our culturally mandated work the balance wheel it needs to keep it from spinning into a self-oriented anarchy", says Bruce C Wearne. PICTURE: © Michele Piacquadio/istockphoto.com
"We have been made fit to participate in promoting a right respect for God's creation, in the fight for public justice and resistance to tyranny public and private, because God in Christ has been busy fighting the powers of darkness - the prince and Ruler of the Age of Disobedience - right in the midst of our very own lives."
We cannot but work to fulfill the cultural mandate - in some way. God's command to fill the earth, control it and subdue it, still stands. our lives are caught up in that command. Men and women, day after day, hour after hour, year after year, run hither and thither to fulfil this designated vocation. it is inescapable. By that same Word, delivered to us at the creation, God maintains His command of our situation.
Even if we use our collective public and civilised-legal muscle to avert nuclear holocaust and ecological disaster, we cannot claim victory over these seemingly out-of-control processes. Why? Because the true fight is not against creation. The fight is against the powers and authorities which tyrannically control the life of humankind - to which we have given our allegiance and to whom we render the service of our lives.
If we see the tide of their influence turned back and we find that we have participated in some kind of turn-around in some small way, can we claim that it is because we have been fulfilling the cultural mandate? Maybe that has something to do with it, but the situation is somewhat more complex.
Who was it, do you think, who turned back the tide of control of the principalities and powers in our own lives? Was that done by our own efforts? Hardly.
We have been made fit to participate in promoting a right respect for God's creation, in the fight for public justice and resistance to tyranny public and private, because God in Christ has been busy fighting the powers of darkness - the prince and Ruler of the Age of Disobedience - right in the midst of our very own lives.
Tender-hearted is the Lord - even if we are stubborn and ruthless, and live a life denying our status as specially-hand-picked-image-bearers. The mandate to subdue the earth was given to His Image-Bearer - humankind - and this presupposes our special intimacy with our heavenly Father.
Fulfillment of the cultural mandate is not automatic - it depends on our being within the sway of the Almighty One. What we now confront is our cultural task, in a situation where our cultivating has gone terribly awry.
The mandate still holds; we are still bound to it. We have no choice, but our cultural performance has been overshadowed and undermined by another choice - the choice to be, no matter what, something on our own merits.
The religious choice which we have made is to make of God's Revelation of Himself a dependent variable - dependent upon our own power whilst we seek to establish ourselves as the independent source of all our living. It is that religious choice which has to be unmade if we are to resist the tempter's voice. We have not only listened to the tempter; we have preferred that voice rather than listen to Him in Whom we live, move and have our being.
We have gone our own way - and now our national life, global civilization, culture, horticulture, agriculture, language, buying and selling, production, human relations, artistic expression, psychological well-being, indeed the entire cosmos is now caught up in this naked struggle for God-damning independence.
The seed of righteousness, sown in weakness and growing daily among many weeds, since it was first sown in the life, teaching ministry, compassion, trial, death and resurrection of a Galilean Rabbi, will give forth its fruit. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, millennium after millennium, the work of Jesus goes on in triumph.
The new beginning has taken place. The second Man has come and completed His work of restoration and renewal. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
We are not left indeterminately without hope; the Comforting Spirit of this Holy One, sent by the risen and now Ascended Lord, pulls our lives together as lives of humble service, meaningfully and purposively oriented to His love. And it is the love of Jesus Christ which alone can give our culturally mandated work the balance wheel it needs to keep it from spinning into a self-oriented anarchy. love alone, this love alone, must burn in our hearts because we have so much work to do. Amazing and blazing.
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