Earth Day Thoughts: Living in Redemption and Looking for the FeastOn Apr 22, 2013 Prayer Closet No Comments Tags: Guest Posts, Prayer
Happy Earth Day!
Today we are so blessed to have guest posting with us Flo Paris, a good friend of The Provision Room, singer, song writer, author, conservationist, and foodie-extraordinaire – and our only friend to have actually spent time with Wendell Berry! She has captured us time an again with her music and words. Flo has graciously allowed us to share one of our favorite songs with you as well! Make sure you look for the link at the end of the post.
We pray you will see God’s work in the earth as you read her post today.
“Practice Resurrection” – Wendell Berry
Earlier in April I had the opportunity to gather with other Nashville musicians to write songs for the church celebrating the beauty of God’s creation. I rarely co-write, so I was nervous as our group of three (Kellie Haddock, Chelsey Scott, and myself) sat down with our collective past experiences, biases, and opinions to try to create art that is reflective of God’s goodness. I was not expecting to finish a full song, let alone a song I really liked. But, as often is the case with God, he not only gave us what we asked for (a song), but also like-mindedness and fellowship as we studied his words regarding creation.
We shared scripture and found hope in the idea that God’s initial creation of the earth and the final redemption of all things stand as bookends on either side of the brokenness in which we now live. Although redemption is promised, cynicism is easier than faith, and we need supernatural revival to turn our hearts to hope. It is hard to live in this tension.
Part of the difficulty of living in the “now and the not yet” is experiencing the brokenness of the physical earth. Many Christians and Environmentalists divide on how much of that decay is man-made, and how much is natural. In either case, the Bible makes it clear that it is not the way it was supposed to be. I would suggest that regardless of our political motivations or personal opinions, we roll up our sleeves and take an active part in enjoying and restoring the “stuff of the earth” that God calls sacred.
In between song-writing sessions our pastor spoke these words: God sent his Son to be a part of the earth, to become broken with it, and to ascend—not as a detached soul, but forever connected to his earthly body. This is a God who values the physical creation he has made—the mountains, the rivers, the birds of the air, you, me, and his own Son.
Last night the songwriters gathered once more as we met with members of the board of A Rocha International, a Christian Conservation group. We shared our hopes of restoring the Church to its leadership role in creation care. We talked about some of the most creatively beautiful agents of evangelism—the birds, the mountains, and the heavens that declare the Glory of God. We sat together outside and feasted on homemade pizza with carefully chosen ingredients, lettuces and vegetables with vibrant colors, and wine that left its scent lingering in the crisp night air as the sun settled in the sky.
These tangible things felt like communion. Not only the bread and the wine, but the wind, the trees, the moon slowly rising—truly, all of creation is a shared communion pointing us to the one whose body was broken for us, and reminding us that there is a redemption that is coming.
After dinner we sat in the Abbey of the church and shared the songs we had written and sang hymns that everyone knew:
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
As I thought about what I would write for “Earth Day,” I initially planned on a theologically intense essay about ecology and Christian stewardship. But last night reminded me of the reason I find value in creation in the first place. It is my Father’s world. He shares it with us, broken like Jesus, pointing to Him and to His redemption of all things. “Earth and Heav’n,” physical and spiritual, are not separate paths we must choose between; rather, Jesus is the one path that embodies both.
In celebrating Earth Day, let us think about living life every day in scope of that final redemption. As Wendell Berry puts it, let us “practice resurrection.” One day there will be a greater feast, a feast with homemade bread and the best wine, grass below our feet and birds and angels singing in chorus; the physical and the spiritual will be one thing: Heaven.
We love Flo’s music and hope you enjoy it as well!! Be blessed!
Flo Paris Oakes is a musician and a writer whose passions include good food (both eating and making), literature, creation care, and especially the convergence of all three. Flo lives in East Nashville with her husband and two daughters and blogs at Tales of a Music Mama.