Littered Landscapes and Love

English: Roadside litter bin Why do they do it...

English: Roadside litter bin Why do they do it? The old logging road off a lay by on the A701 is littered with garbage. There are no litter bins in the lay by but surely they could take their rubbish home with them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Littered Landscapes and Love

Relationships are like a beautiful landscape. When they are newly discovered, there is much wonder at the beauty all around. Everything seems to be bursting with color, fragrance, light. The experience can often take our breath away.

Sadly, over time, litter begins to accumulate. Harsh words. A broken promise. Unforgiveness. Records of offenses kept. Soon we see that our once beautiful landscape is littered with trash, debris, and worn out rusting junk. The scene can once again take our breath away; not for its beauty but rather for the tragedy of what has been lost. That once beautiful place where we lingered over coffee and time itself seemed to stand still, that place of holy conversation, has been littered by the trash of life and this sacred space nearly destroyed.

Yet look closely. The beauty is still there beneath the litter and debris. It is often tempting to look around and be overwhelmed by the mess we see. Rather than contemplating rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on trash removal duty, we dream of escaping to a new landscape. The tragedy in this is that this is a denial of the beautiful landscape we once beheld with such joy. What does it say of us that we are unwilling to pay a price to restore even a small piece of it? The temptation is to walk away in search of greener pastures, an uncluttered landscape, and a fresh start. The problem with this is that over time, the same litter seems to have followed us to our new and improved location……wherever we go, there we still are.

The true test of love long born is not in the initial beauty we find in the landscape of our love, but rather in our dogged determination to clear away the litter of our thoughtless passing. It is in learning new and better ways to tend to that love. It is in learning about the ways in which we litter and destroy our beautiful landscape and somehow learning to avoid them.

Yes, it is easy to abandon what was once a sacred space in search for fairer ground. But that is not what our Lord did for us. He did not leave us in our littered landscape, He redeemed us. He did not abandon us in the mess we made, but rather took on human flesh, became one of us, and lived among us. He showed us how to live, modeled love and forgiveness, and taught us the importance of preserverence until the end. Amen

The Ocean and the Pond

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since there is no official governing body over Earth. The flag holds a photo transfer of a NASA image of the Earth on a dark blue background. It has been associated with Earth Day. Although the flag was originally copyrighted, a judge ruled that the copyright was invalid. Earth Flag Ltd. v. Alamo Flag Co., 154 F. Supp. 2d 663 (S.D.N.Y. 2001) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Ocean and the Pond

“One of the religion scholars came up.” Mark 12:28

At times when I have been attending various conferences or seminars, I become aware of men who are wise, or more accurately, those who think they are. Every person I encounter sees themselves as a scholar of something. Of course, most of my experience has been with those who see themselves so in some area of religion: language, liturgy, denominations. Then there are the alternative scholars who are experts at history, language, anthropology, the arts, ancient cultures to name just a few. The list is endless. Most scholars will tell you very quickly about their field of expertise.

However, every person’s knowledge or understanding of any subject is like a pond. It represents a body of knowledge. But the size, length, breadth and depth are limited by geography. From a given perspective along the edge, it may seem vast. However, a little probing or shifting of vision to the right or left quickly reveals the limitation of its ability to hold its contents by borders or bottom. Some indeed may seem to stretch out of sight, but this is only by virtue of our inability to walk along the perimeter the entire distance.

The ocean, by contrast, is like the cosmos compared to a spec. Standing beside the pond, no matter how large, once you’ve seen the ocean, you can never imagine the pond to be very large and never again would you think that the pond held a great volume of water. The scholars, who think of themselves as such, have not visited the ocean of God’s mind. They become so lost in the illusion of the expanse of their pond that tales of the ocean seem to them as idle chatter…..

Those who excitedly return from the ocean bring tales of vast beaches and endless horizons, with the understanding that no matter how far you walk or how high your vantage point, the limit of its reach, the deepest depths of it cannot be found. To the pond dwellers, those who have seen the ocean appear to be fools. Nothing will ever convince them of the errors of their thinking until they visit the ocean. You must leave the pond behind in order to do this. Evangelism is all about helping people to experience the ocean! Amen.