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Restoration & Wholeness

There has been a silver lining to the terrible human tragedy of Coronavirus and that is the bouncing back of nature and the environment. You will have heard of the Venice canals running clear and the return of fish, for the first time in living memory. In Wellington a very rare leucistic tauhou (waxeye) was photographed by Holly Neil.

In other places, pollution has lifted and cleared. The difference is quite marked in Los Angeles.

LA before the lock-down
LA after the lock-down

If we take humans out of the equation, or lock us up for a time during a pandemic, the earth seems to return to its original created state.

‘Are humans the fly in the ointment’ (Ecclesiastes 10:1) ‘or the leaven in the bread’ (1 Corinthians 5:6)?

Romans 8:19–22 is interesting…

‘For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.’

A few thoughts on this:

1) Jesus’ Return in part includes his restoration of the world: the environment, the animal kingdom.

God cares for the world and the other created orders as well as for man— the apple of his eye. But he is not ambivalent about the rest.

2) The Fall and man’s bad stewardship of the earth have caused most of the problems that beset our world. They overlay a perfect template God gave us originally as a gift.

As we read Revelation 22 we see a picture of this restoration: healing of the nations, trees, leaves, clean running water, abundant fish.

God gave the world to man; Jesus as the Son of Man is its King, the King of Kings. Part of his ministry is to reconcile all things back to the Father, restored and whole. As well as his plan for humanity, Jesus will minister to our world and redeem Creation too.

And old hymn captures this theology:

1 Think of a world without any flowers,
think of a world without any trees,
think of a sky without any sunshine,
think of the air without any breeze.
We thank you, Lord, for flowers and trees and sunshine,
we thank you, Lord, and praise your holy name.

2 Think of the world without any animals,
think of a field without any herd,
think of a stream without any fishes,
think of a dawn without any bird.
We thank you, Lord, for all your living creatures,
we thank you, Lord, and praise your holy name.

3 Think of a world without any people,
think of a street with no-one living there,
think of a town without any houses,
no-one to love and nobody to care.
We thank you, Lord, for families and friendships,
we thank you, Lord, and praise your holy name.

Let’s conclude with Hebrews 2:10.

‘In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.’


Continuing Tim’s reflections on archaeology in Israel, and my images from last Saturday (18th) at biblical Gath. This is a little Israel frog. At night they would come up from the dry brook of Elah (the brook where David gathered his Goliath sling stones) and crawl under our canvases and into the excavation pits where it was dark and moist.

Amongst the rocks we also had these large iguana-like lizards. And in Israel these large black beetles are our companions while we dig in the soil.

A closing prayer as we endure this extended trial…

Lord of all the Earth, We give you praise and glory as the Creator of all things The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of your hands. (Psalm 19:1)
Thank you for your redemptive plan. Thank you for Jesus who came to earth as one of us. Bring wholeness and redemption to all and take up David’s earthly throne. As part of Creation we lift up our: eyes, hearts, hands and voices To worship you and to add our song of praise with the voice of Creation. Return to the earth, O Lord, and take up your throne among us as Restorer, And make all things whole again.