Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Dusty Kingdom

Posted by Jack

I have spent the last couple of months covered in dust. No, really, covered in dust.

We have been remodeling our dining room. The walls and ceilings, both made of plaster and lathe, were crumbling and falling down around us.

First came the black dust. We decided to pull the ceiling down before it descended on its own resolve. With the crashing ceiling came 140 years worth of dust and grime. Plaster dust, asbestos, dirt, soot. It came down in torrents.

In the end, I looked like a coal miner.

It took quite some time to clean up the black dust… in fact, we are still coming across traces of it even now. But we weren’t finished with dust.

Then came the white dust. We replaced the ceiling and walls with sheetrock, and the finishing process inevitably included sanding down the joint compound to make a smooth surface. Gypsum, sanded compound, white dust. It came down in torrents.

In the end, I looked like someone had dumped a bag of flour over my head.

It will doubtless take many weeks to clean up the dust… in fact, we will likely find traces of it for quite some time.

And so we find ourselves covered with dust. Sometimes I feel like that Peanuts character Pigpen… like I am leaving a cloud behind me everywhere I walk.

But, you know something? I think God’s Kingdom is a dusty one.

See, our God is a fixer, a restorer, a creator. He is wildly creative and ingenious. He fixes that which is broken. He heals that which is sick. He brings new life to that which is dead. He imagines things into existence, and in the beginning He fashioned us from… well, dust. He is no stranger to remodeling.

Jesus came to tear down. His once beautiful creation was crumbling and falling apart. The curse of sin and death was weighing heavily on the universe, and all the cosmos groaned under the weight. If left alone, all would come crashing down.

So Jesus the carpenter, the fixer, the healer, He tore into His creation and crushed the powers and authorities, and He ground sin and death into a fine powder.

When the dust settled, Jesus was dead and buried.

And then came the white dust.

Jesus, Who is not content with simply destroying sin, Who is not satisfied with brokenness, Who came to make all things new… this Jesus burst from the tomb. He conquered death. The grave could not hold Him. The gates of Hell could not prevail against Him. And He brought with Him life and light for all who believe.

Now, here we find ourselves… covered in dust.

We are free to shake off the dust that clings from the former life, the dirt and grime that remains from the crushing of sin and death. We are free! We are cleansed! We are not bound by the influence of that way that once was.

And more dust comes, from building and restoring. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! It may not be finished yet, but it is certainly under construction. We have been invited to join in the work that Jesus began, to seek the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth, just as it is in Heaven.

Is it possible to see the Risen Savior in a remodeled ceiling? I do remember hearing about a woman who saw the virgin Mary in her grilled cheese… so I guess it is certainly possible.

No, more than that.

We believe that remodeling is redemptive, that restoring the old and broken is an act of worship. We believe that God has plans for His Creation, and that we, His people, are to be caught up in His universal fixing movement. We believe that He make all things new.

The Resurrection promises that old things have passed away, that new life has come. It promises that our Creator is not finished with His Creation, but that He has much more in store. The Resurrection promises that we, his fixing helpers, are free and able to take part in the building of His Kingdom. And it promises that death cannot stop us and sin cannot hold us, for our King has conquered the grave.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. John 11:25-26

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