1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
This verse, and others like it, have often been interpreted in a way that brings disdain for our world. Everything about it. In certain circles of Christianity, it breeds a false paradigm that is sort of reminiscent of a scorched earth policy- lets get out of here, its all bad and nothing good, its going to be replaced, let it all burn.
But this verse, and others like it, are talking about the sin of this world, systemic and personal. It’s referencing the fallenness of humanity and the results, and our need to rise out if it and not love it any longer. But in no way are these verses saying all is bad, nothing is good, nothing to enjoy here, let’s scorch it and get out. Remember, God made this world and called it good, and there is much good about it. He teaches us to pray on earth as it is in heaven, right here, right now.
This is something that has been reinforced in me through the last few months. I found that I am not in a hurry to get out of here. I know to be present with the Lord is ultimately better. I believe in the great hope, the resurrection of the dead and all things being made new in finality. But I found again that God made this world as a place of enjoyment for us. And even though it is fallen, there is much good to be found. Family, friends, relationships. Things that bring smiles and laughter. The enjoyment of the earth itself, the wonder and beauty of nature. I believe this perspective is from God himself. He is currently, right now, making all things new. In that, seeing that, we can see the wonder of life, though not perfect, though still being redeemed, in this earth right now. God is making all things new and we are a part of that if we choose. In us. Through us. Around us. I didn’t need to experience that last eight months to realize this, but the last eight months were a strong reminder. I capped off the events of the last eight months by spending time in the woods, relaxing with my family, and going on a hike with family and friends. All things I enjoy. All things that are good. None of which am I in a hurry to get rid of. I believe God was glad that I enjoyed those things. He wasn’t angry because I have a love for these things. These kind of things are in this world, but not of the sin of this world.
For me, all of this finds a home in the sunrise and the sunset. A moment in experiencing – stopping, pausing, taking in – a sunrise or a sunset is a constant reminder of the goodness of life as it is right now. As a bowhunter I’ve experienced countless sunrises and sunsets. Even when not in the tree stand I am often awake at the sunrise and often take notice of the sunset. I make it a point to take a moment, if possible, to ponder the sunrise and sunset each day. Stop. Pause. Take in. The tree stand I hunt from the most faces west. The sun rises in the east. But as the sun comes up, all it takes is a look around the tree to experience the sunrise breaking through the trees. There is something profound about the light as it breaks over the horizon and begins to enlighten the woods. In the evening, as the sun sets in the west, I am facing directly to it. Seeing the sun go down and slowly hide behind the horizon brings a certain peace. Whether a sunrise or a sunset, I am always struck with wonder. A wonder that God is a masterful creator. I’m reminded of His love for us, that He is the sustainer of life. For tomorrow, even if it is cloudy and you cannot see it, the sun will rise and the sun will set. A reminder at the sunrise that each day is new, life is progressing, and His mercies are new every morning. A reminder at the sunset that each day does end, that if there are struggles they will eventually cease, that God certainly will bring a close to the fallenness of all things, and we will find rest.
Psalm 113:3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.