I have had two things chiefly on my mind lately.
These would be: 1.) what makes the life of a Christian whole and right, and 2.) how to enjoy the Lord’s creation daily.
These are fraught times. I’m not sure how often I will type those words, but it is true. Anyone who believes otherwise is simply not living in reality. To ignore what is happening outside the walls of our homes is a luxury for some, but not a possibility for most. It’s a bizarre moment but that does not mean we are to retreat with no simple joys or a constant appreciation for God’s handiwork in and through His creations.
This week our sermon was filled with goodness. We concentrated on the preface to Romans that Martin Luther provided – words of explanation as it pertains to justification through faith alone that is followed by good works. While it’s a few pages, I commend to you the entire thing, as well as to learn about the man behind the words more fully. One particular paragraph that was shared moved me to tears:
“Faith is a living, unshakeable confidence in God’s grace; it is so certain, that someone would die a thousand times for it. This kind of trust in and knowledge of God’s grace makes a person joyful, confident, and happy with regard to God and all creatures. This is what the Holy Spirit does by faith. Through faith, a person will do good to everyone without coercion, willingly and happily; he will serve everyone, suffer everything for the love and praise of God, who has shown him such grace. It is as impossible to separate works from faith as burning and shining from fire. Therefore be on guard against your own false ideas and against the chatterers who think they are clever enough to make judgements about faith and good works but who are in reality the biggest fools. Ask God to work faith in you; otherwise you will remain eternally without faith, no matter what you try to do or fabricate.”
How timely these words are! What an instruction for us Christians who are living in this moment. I found such encouragement and I hope you do as well – the Christian walk is not simply a life of faith but a life that faith informs – doing good that tells the tale of the Gospel and shares His truth with others through deed. They go hand in hand and must be married to one another. A natural out-pouring of a proper faith is good works and charitable kindness for ones fellow man.
Along with pondering my place in this world and the way that I, as a Christian, work out my salvation, I am finding such joy in the small moments of each day. I am especially finding happiness in God’s creation of plant life…..as odd as it sounds. He is the God of the big and the small. He created the immense and the tiny….both formed through His imagination and creativity.
And now, a bizarre transition…
Our family loves indoor plants. Yes, we have outdoor gardens and we love them, but I find extreme fascination with indoor plants and terrariums of all kinds. I saw a beautiful glass-jug terrarium for sale a month ago at a local vintage shop. It was well over my price range (at $100), so I left it for someone else. Recently I decided to make my own and found materials that didn’t surpass $20 so I decided to make a go of it. I used clippings from a Boston fern we had growing outside and some compost, rocks, and moss we had around the house. While making it, I felt such joy – God’s wondrous imaginings are so delightful and perfect – small and big. His fingerprints can be found in even the tiniest of living things – a dainty fern, for instance. His goodness and beauty can be found everywhere.
In a world that is gasping for breath, there is peace in knowing the Lord is in control and has guided us with His word. He has instructed us how to live – clinging to a true belief which will inevitably prompt good works. He gave us His scriptures to live by and His creation to enjoy daily.
It’s up to us to stay alert to the many opportunities to live out His Gospel and relish in His infinite masterpieces.
Even when it might be a man-made terrarium.