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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crown of Thorns - The symbolism

In case you are wondering why I chose the name "Crown of Thorns" here are a couple of the reasons:
  • Personally, I find the idea of a crown of thorns an appropriate metaphor for the role my environmental conscience in my life. It is a burden I carry all the time, a constant irritation that reminds me that everything I do has an impact on the planet and the creatures in it. My crown of thorns reminds me to buy recycled, Fairtrade and low-energy products; to reuse, share and recycle things; or better yet, to avoid buying things at all. It pushes me to establish programs like Five Leaf in an effort to make a difference; and to learn all that I can. I am far from perfect, and sometimes I wish I couldn't feel the thorns, but my conscience is my constant reminder and motivator- a force that makes me live for more than myself.
  • On a more theological note I think the Crown of Thorns is also appropriate because "In Christian symbolism, thorns and thistles represent the fall of man, sin, sorrows, trials, snares, adversity, enemies, temptations, the wicked, and the Passion of Jesus Christ. Thorns came upon the earth when the Lord cursed the ground to punish Adam's transgression (Gen 3:18). Christ, therefore, wore the symbol of sin and punishment as He atoned for our sins." * The Crown of Thorns reminds us that the fall of man has subjected all of creation to futility and pain and that upon the revealing of the sons of God "creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God"** Our sins and temptations have lead us to add to the suffering of the earth, and in recent years the groaning has become almost audible. But this symbol also provides hope, reminding us that Jesus has atoned for our sins and we are the forgiven children of God.
  • I just want to pause at Romans 8:19 quickly- "creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God." Isn't it interesting that creation is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed so that it can be freed from the bondage of corruption? It is not just waiting for Jesus's sacrifice, but rather for the sons of God to reveal themselves somehow. I believe it means that creation is waiting for the Church to take the lead in environmental care and restoration. After all, who should care for the father's work/creation more than his children? And how better can creation recognise the sons of God than by seeing those who care for His creation as befits those who love God?
Tomorrow I will start the Green Bible Challenge with the chapter that begins it all and I will have a look at some of the most interesting environmental verses in the Bible...

Stay tuned, and let me know if your church mentions an environmental Bible verse in church tomorrow.

** Romans 8:19-22

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+