From Reading Wendell Berry During Sermon Prep.

“The whole creation exists only by participating in the life of God, sharing in His being, breathing His breath.  “The world,” Gerard Manley Hopkins said, “is charged with the grandeur of God.”  Such thoughts seem strange to us now, and what has estranged us from them is our economy.  The industrial economy could not have been derived from such thoughts any more than it could have been derived from the Golden Rule.

If we believed that the existence of the world is rooted in mystery and in sanctity, then we would have a different economy.  It would still be an economy of use, necessarily, but it would e an economy also of return.  The economy would have to accommodate the need to be worthy of the gifts we receive and use, and this would involve a return of propitiation, praise, gratitude, responsibility, good use, good care, and a proper regard for the unborn.  What is most conspicuously absent form the industrial economy and industrial culture is this idea of return.  Industrial humans relate themselves to the world and its creatures by fairly direct acts of violence.  Mostly we take without asking, use without respect or gratitude and give nothing in return.  Our economy’s most voluminous product is waste–valuable materials irrecoverably misplaced, or randomly discharged as poisons.

to perceive the world and our life in it as gifts originating in sanctity is to see our human economy as a continuing moral crisis.  Our life of need and work forces us inescapably to use in time things belonging to eternity, and to assign finite values to things already recognized as infinitely valuable.  This is a fearful predicament. It calls for prudence, humility, good work, propriety of scale. It calls for the complex responsibility of care taking and giving back that we mean by “stewardship.”

Wendell Berry in The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land, ed. by Norman Wirzba

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While it was still dark

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I woke up at 5:44 am this morning with these words running through my head:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark…”

They are the intro to the resurrection story.

 

It all starts in the dark. Always, everytime – this is how God does things.

Seeds, chrysalis, the womb, the heat of the earth, the source of the font. The pre-cellular enzymes swimming in the depths of the ocean for billions of years.

All life, all new life, all transformed life begins, “While it is still dark.”

 

We do not serve the God of winning – we serve the God of transforming. This is a big ,big difference.   And this God was not afraid of the dark, of falling, of failure of expectations, of silence – in fact, it was part and parcel of it, of the transformation. It always is.

This God IS NOT afraid of what the dark holds – for it actually is the start of all transformed life.

 

I think of those women who walked in the dark, three days after a violent, bloody, terrifying day. They walked in unknowing, they walked not understanding, they walked forward only doing what they knew to do next. They walked with their hearts broken. They walked not even knowing if their physical safety would be guaranteed in this powder-keg city that cheered at the pain of this One.  This one who took their lives seriously and held their selves with love and kindness.

They walked in the dark.

And they were met. By something they could not have even imagined. By someone who knew their names.

 

This is a Sunday I can get behind – this is such a good story.