Friday, December 14, 2007

Vine and Fig Tree Planters: An Invitation

We woke to a sound as distant,

As distant as we are from the earth,

from each other,

from ourselves,

from the Spirit of all life.

A sound audible when the imperial legion of appliances; Plasma TV’s, ipods, computers, mobiles and microwaves that occupies our hearts and imaginations with their pervasive hum,

Gave way to the wildness of what is.

Gave way to the wild melodic stillness of the stars,

the redemption songs of crickets and frogs,

of the wind dancing with a thousand leaves.

Gave way to an untamedness of gratitude and joy at the extravagant givenness of the world,

Exiled in the manufactured milieu of the suburbs, the office, the shopping centres, the media, the market, the institutions which foster escapist spiritualities to accompany the destruction of creation.

An untameness as foreign to us in these places as we are to ourselves.

As alien as we are from our place in, and not above, creation.

Ambushed by worshipful wonder; at the sheer goodness of what is,

of wilderness and its dangerously expectant doxology

we at first could not interpret the tongues of that living which is other than ourselves,

That we presumed silent despite the rocks crying out.

Yet Pentecost has become our own,

We’ve been found with ears to hear that mixed with the symphony of praise from wild animals, undomesticated forests and water ways, a groaning and growing lament.

A lament that we, deaf to the cries of the suffering and numb to the pain that would transform us if only we would stop running, have become:

So fearful,

of the end of oil,

of an unprecedented ecological crisis,

of our world governments spend 14 times the amount of money we need to end absolute poverty on more machines designed solely to take human life.

So we hidden in endless home improvement, ‘reality’ television, over flowing shopping trolleys and an unwavering faith in the market will sort everything out.

Yet some of us have been haunted by a hope that these cries will be answered,

A dream so crazy it is only uttered by prophets:

“God will justly arbitrate between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Every one will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for God Almighty has spoken.”

This moves us past protest to invitational witness to what one day will flood the earth like the waters of the seas.

So we’ve been moved to enact the heretical orthodoxy of walking in the resurrection, of
embodying the foolishness of the cross, of strage acts offered as signs to wonder. We will witness to the transformation of armouries into Eden; the planting of vine and fig trees at military bases. A concrete sign of our hope. All the members of the base are invited to put down their weapons and join with us in planting these signs of a stable, peaceful, fertile life. As this Planting occurs some will be gathered for worship in silent prayers, others will sing in the hope of a fertile, hospitable order and we hope our hosts will put down weapons to pick up shovels.

These actions are not simply inspired by some timeless ideal nor the simple imitation of an abstract ethic; for In Jesus, God’s dream for creation has become a waking reality.

The cries are being answered, and creation groans for us to witness to have broken into history.

His is a name so safe in the mouth of the preacher promising fire insurance for the afterlife and threatening hell, yet so dangerous when embodied in a people who know that through this messiah who rejects the sword, the transformation of all things has rushed into this moment.

The time has come.

Another world is not just possible, it’s here, in our midst waiting for us to simply change and live into it.

It’s a reality lying in dynamic dormancy in the earth just below the insanity of our current way of life.

It’s an invitation - an invitation to a party where those that come are the right ones to welcome a new world by the way they joyfully live their lives.

This is the dream that became the reality of the early church, of the saints like Francis, Claire, of the Anabaptists, the early Friends and others whom we feel drawn to. This is the open invitation that we are saying ‘yes’ to.

We welcome you to the invitation.

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