A Safe Place to Grow
“He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.”
Colossians 1:13 (RSV)
The National Trust garden just down the road from where I live has sprouted a new notice that reads: “Following government advice we are carrying out essential works to reduce the impact and slow down the spread of Phytophthora ramon which is a virulent fungal-like plant disease. Elderly shrubs are particularly susceptible to this disease along with other plant problems. We’ll remove these plants, improve the soil and replant with a new selection of plants. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you in your visit.” You could call it garden hygiene to stop the spread of the disease. You could call it plant euthanasia too.
I have sneaked past my threescore years and ten, so speaking as a member of the Elderly-Shrub-Club, I am heartily glad the Great Gardener does not decide that I am a danger to all around me, dig me up and consign me to a bonfire.
But there’s no need—he has already dealt with the worldwide infection that is rampant throughout the human race. All of us have been infected with a deadly disease, a sin-inducing disposition and the symptoms are clear: throughout the earth as the fruits damage everything in their path, and in our species, it’s not true that the older you become the more danger you present to others. In fact removing all the elderly might make things a whole lot worse. Our disease can’t be removed by being sprayed with something nasty, or eradicated by isolation, or even by eliminating some of us – it must be killed off completely. That is what Christ did as he took our corrupted nature on himself, and it died with him on the cross.
And having accomplished that, God actually has ‘dug us up’, but just not in order to put us in the ‘to be disposed’ pile. Instead, he is steadily transferring us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves. And that kingdom, the age to come, is already in our world and is spreading unchecked throughout our species. Jesus likened it to yeast spreading through dough: it can’t be stopped. It’s impervious to all attempts to kill it off. It’s a place where we can flourish in freedom.
We praise and thank you, Father, for mercifully saving us from death and placing us in the kingdom of your Son, through the powerful work of the Spirit.
Study by Hilary Buck
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
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