Some days everything seems vexed with trouble. We try to work and spin our wheels in frustration, not accomplishing a single thing we set out to do because of interruptions. We try to talk to co-workers, friends, or family members, and either everyone is having a bad day or maybe it's just us, but trouble is at our doorstep. Out at lunch, we happen on a particularly beautiful part of the city and find that a previously forested area we walked in for years has been cleared for more office buildings and multi-family dwellings, the very contour of the land reshaped, previous landmarks lost, backhoes and earthmovers scraping the land clear of everything that roots it in the past, and you feel a sense of loss, as the very place itself has lost its identity. It could be any southern city. Back at my office, I look from my third story window over the street below, and I feel the weight of something terribly wrong. It's days like that we can be thankful for, in a way, a day when our theological understanding of the Fall becomes an experiential understanding, when dogma concretes in the particulars of life, in space and in time.
Stephen Smallman relates the epiphany he had when he realized that the Exodus story was a picture of salvation by grace, that the story of God delivering His people from slavery and bondage was a unity with the New Testament Gospel, of God's delivering us from sin through Christ. I don't remember a time when I did not know this. The real epiphany for me was when I realized that it wasn't just me being redeemed and delivered but the cosmos, every square inch of a universe gone wrong being recreated into a new heavens and earth that shine with God's glory --- aesthetically, ecologically, and socially redeemed, a world made whole, a world gone right. John 3:16 is a familiar verse infected by an anthropocentric predisposition, but God loves the "world" (aka cosmos), not just people. Viewing all of scripture in this light, the incredible scope of what God has done and is doing is immense: He is literally undoing the curse on all creation and unmaking and remaking all that He made.
Some days I look and see trouble. Other days I sense a deep magic at work. In that, there is reason to celebrate. Troubled neighborhoods, broken families, ravished land, toxic waste dumps --- just you wait. The times are changing.
[The "40 Days On the Edge" posts are my ruminations in light of Stephen Smallman's devotional entitled "Forty Days On the Mountain," read in conjunction with Harvard Landscape History Professor John Stilgore's "Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places." Both books may be ordered by clicking on them where they are listed in the sidebar under "Current Reading."]