“This world is not my home I’m just a passing through/ My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue/ The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door/ And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
These are the first words to a song that my University of Georgia Wesley Foundation group would often perform when we led Sunday morning worship services for North Georgia churches. I don’t think I ever really loved the song…but there was a truth to it. This world isn’t my home. I’ve always felt that way… discontent somehow. This world is messy and I like order. I like beautiful, pure, simple things…and this world is covered with ugliness… hateful people; air land and water tainted by pollution that we have created. The glory of nature has been covered over in concrete, penned in by chain link fences and barbed-wire. Wrought-iron bars on windows and dead-bolt locks keep us prisoners. There are landfills miles wide. The stench sours never fresh air for anyone down-wind. Toxins and poisons carelessly dispersed and disposed of seep into our air and our soil and our water sources. The horrors that we as a species have perpetrated against our world and God’s creatures and our fellow human beings…even the ones that we know well and supposedly love… play out like a hideous allegory. And none of us are innocent. We have all contributed to this mess. Dr. Seuss brilliantly penned the following about a careless cat and his chaos causing, fun-loving “things”:
“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”
I wish that the depressing picture I have painted above were from a dark and over-active imagination. But the description above is the tip of an iceberg. We seem on the brink of a reality that looks a lot like an apocalyptic movie where we have used up all of our resources and devastated the environment so that nothing can grow…nothing can live…Mad Max…The Road… I Am Legend or even the Pixar animated film WALL-E.
What is an “apocalypse” anyway? According to the trusty Wikipedia: “Apocalypse is derived from the Greek word apokalypsis. Although it’s often used to describe a great devastation or cataclysm, the literal meaning of apocalypse is actually an unveiling, or revealing. Hence the word revelation, from which the Book Of Revelation gets its name.”
Wow. I don’t know about you, but to me, that is cool. Very. And a little scary. It has been an unveiling for my entire life… this revealing is precisely why I cannot help but write! I am compelled to tell people about The More. This is not all. We can not live for the moment. “YOLO” is a crock of poo. I can’t feel at home in this world because I am frustrated. I am frustrated that people don’t see or don’t care that this world matters….that what we do on and in and for this world matters… that this LIFE matters. We aren’t just “passing through”. We are given a finite amount of time to do something here. And we are given very specific things to do. And the things are not selfish things… or temporary. They are generous, selfless and eternal. People who believe that we are just “passing through” and that this life doesn’t really matter are wrong. People who think that this is all that there is… so do anything and everything…live life like you are dying… are going to discover that they are wrong.
I am frustrated like the Lorax who warns…“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
I love this world. I may not be made for the world as it is… but I am not in a hurry to get my treasure that is laid up somewhere beyond the blue! This world is BEAUTIFUL… and not just when I flee my reality to an exotic vacation or escape into thick woods and streams of ancient mountains. I don’t just know peace and tranquility when I am listening to the ocean surf and seagulls or being mesmerized by the sun sparkles dancing on the surface of an afternoon lake. This world is BEAUTIFUL and TRANQUIL and PEACEFUL to me because I am already home. And it isn’t about a location. It isn’t A Destination, or A Vacation, but A Place of Relaxation and Rejuvenation. I can rest right where I am already. Maybe not for long periods of time and maybe not even every day. But I have had moments of complete joy and contentment and bliss because I don’t have to wait to see and know God. God lives in me. I feel it. I know it. I see AMAZING and WONDEROUS things EVERYDAY because I am looking at the creation through eyes God made for me to see with. I am made flesh and blood with eyes and ears and nerve endings and taste buds and this world is a FEAST for my human senses. Thank you, God.
I see what man has done. What we consider “progress”…or what is greed or ignorance…or our condition of being depraved without acknowledging it; or caring; or knowing that there is a remedy … We have made a mess. But God gives us glimpses of the original paradise that He intended for us. God is a Romantic. Can you tell by the evening clouds swirling pink and purple…or the fragile beauty and originality of each fantastic snowflake…or the rose petals unbearable softness and sweet smell? We can have a glimpse of God’s intense love for us in our earthly relationships too. What a blessing to not only hear we are loved but to feel we are loved…and to love in return! Do you not know that we are romanced EVERY DAY! God is wooing us with His beautiful gifts …birdsong, warm sun, hugs of a child, soft kisses of a lover. God pursues us. He sends us signs. He wants us to find Him in this world. We don’t have to look far. He isn’t in the sky or the ocean or the signs. He is in our heart. When He is in our heart we will see the world not as the mess that is so big, so deep and so tall. We will see it and say, “Where shall I start? How about right here. How about right now. Help me. And then please show me what else and where else and who else…and by the way, I see all of the good that you have made for me too. Thank You.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38