It rained all day yesterday. This morning the birds are singing and the sun is perfect. The sky is clean, the air is bright, and the stillness of soggy weather has given way to a gusty breeze. The world is beautiful. Summer's coming. I've only got one school book left to finish. I'm going to see *him* tomorrow after what feels like but probably isn't a very long absence. It's April. I finally have a licence. There isn't any laundry piled up in the back room. I live in Texas. I read Anne of Avonlea for what is probably the sixth time yesterday, though I haven't kept count. God's grace abounds, life is good, and right now, 8:30 AM on Wednesday the 25th of April 2007, I am happy.
It's hard to believe at this moment that a thing called sin actually infests the world. But I am human, which being translated means I am of dull perception, and to God's eyes the scene before me probably appears terminally diseased with the stuff. If I look more carefully I observe evidences too. The dead leaves in the gutter. The rush of the freeway in the background (surely God wouldn't permit such 4-lane atrocities in a perfect world?). The splotchy grass in our front yard, beneath trees the sun can't penetrate. The locks on every door and window in sight. The anonymous scars on my right foot. The fact that I really should be inside sweeping the perennially needy kitchen floor.
Suddenly it occurs to me that even some of the newnesses and beauties around me trace their lineage back to sin-- the flower beds on either side of the front walk, for instance. They are freshly planted; we fixed them up last weekend, breaking up the dense clay soil with hoes and shovels, planting, and spreading the mulch that smells so wonderful now. We did this because of sin.
Come to think of it, it is the things most worthy of our time that combat sin, or, if you please, it is the things that combat sin that are most worthy of our time. And I think most of us know this instinctively. We all get feelings sometimes, while flipping through a magazine or dawdling or doing this that and the other on the internet, that we are wasting time. To a child of God, mightn't this be also called the feeling that what we are doing has no significance in God's reality?
God's reality is the reality of redemption, or victory-- to Him they are the same. Victory. Victory over sin. Redemption of His chosen ones. His every action in time is ultimately another nudge toward the redemption of His people, and the defeat of sin. And here, on a lower plane, we take part in the battle too. Doctors healing people are fighting it. Anyone who takes a walk and glories in Creation is fighting it. Girls brushing their hair are fighting it. Anyone who creates beauty of any kind is fighting it. We fought it when we took mud and turned it into a flower bed. I'm fighting right now as I use words to give order to my scrambled thoughts.
For order is of God, and chaos of the devil. God's redemption of each of his children means taking a blackened, tortured, chaotic soul and restoring to it His intended order and beauty. On the last day our bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, from this chaos of illness and death and decay to the beautiful order and perfection He intended. We shall be changed. "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." In a smaller manifestation of this pattern, we too are meant to be victors in this world.
Victory is the birthright of a child of grace. Of course, no one quite lives up to it. Sin has a way of interfering with that. But sin comes in lots of shapes and sizes, and of all its forms perhaps the most insidious is the demon Mediocrity. I won't speak for anyone else, but I know that he haunts me day and night. He tells me to do the easy thing instead of the beautiful thing, to squeak by on the bare minimum requirments of life instead of living redemptively. He is a cheat, defrauding me of my birthright by telling me this mess of pottage would really be so much more convenient. He wants me to be satisfied, soothed, drowsy in my own complaisance and inactivity. But I intend not to let him, because God demands victory-- over the flesh and the devil, over sin, over the world, over messy kitchens and scrambled thoughts and dead grass, over ignorance. Victory over the isolation of souls adrift in selfishness. Victory over ugliness-- beauty. Victory over hatred-- love. Victory, which for us frail ones means a temporary redemption of some small corner of God's good earth. Kitchen floors, for instance. I think I'll go sweep now.