Yesterday at the nursing home we had a wonderful time of singing (I felt in good rhythm, and liked my simple guitar playing for a change) and I shared from Ephesians 2:1-10 in reflecting some on God’s grace. Grace means gift, the nuance being gift of love, the covenantal love of God in Jesus.
I was impressed then, and shared this, that really all of life is a gift. Of course I’m thinking of all the good things and what keeps us alive. The air we breathe, the food and drink we enjoy, the beauty we see all around us (autumn here), the love we share in relationships. God gifts humanity in creation with a view to its fulfillment in the new creation, through Jesus.
When we plant a tree we have an end in view for that tree. For a fruit tree that it would eventually bear certain fruit. For a shade tree that it would provide shade. We were created by God with a purpose in view. Made in his image to reflect his glory and person in this world. When we went our own way away from God, God had purposed in his eternal counsel to bring the goal of creation to completion in the new creation in Jesus. As wonderful as this creation is, it is simply a prelude to the new creation to come in Jesus. When the end God had in view for humanity and for creation will be realized through Jesus.
The new creation actually begins in the here and now through Jesus. This is sheer gift, again all is gift from which we live. We work out what God works in, but first and always, we receive. Again and again through Jesus and by the Spirit. Each new day in Jesus means the reception of new mercies from the faithful God.
What about the catastrophes big and small and all too common in this world which can touch our lives as well? Along with sadness at loss that is certain to come? Again we know that the end in view is realized only in the new creation in Jesus. Humanity has the sense that God is at work in something bigger than just this life. And again it is all a gift through Jesus. We receive what lasts beyond this life through Jesus. Like the breath we breathe here for life in this world, the life of God through the Spirit is a life that goes on beyond our final breath here for the life to come. A life in God through Jesus by the Spirit, received now as a gift from God in Jesus. By simple faith, even if it is the struggling kind (and most all of us struggle in our faith at times), we receive this gift, and we learn to live in and according to it. As well as point others along this way through our lives and witness of it so that others may join us in this new life.