The extent and depth of the drought currently afflicting much of inland Australia was immediately evident as I looked out the window ? vast expanses of brown, parched country stretched out toward the horizon in every direction as we flew the 350km west.
As the plane descended into Roma, it was easier to make out different aspects of the terrain ? homesteads and machinery sheds, dry creek gullies and empty earth dams, dead straight highways and dusty tracks.? Here and there cattle could be seen around a waterhole with a small eye of muddy water.
Then I noticed patches of green ? all the more obvious against the backdrop of browns and ochres.? Some of the homesteads scattered here and there were carefully nurturing a modest patch of grass to limit the ravages of the drought to the cultivation.? I suspect that close inspection would make ?lawn? too grand a title!?
There was something moving about these little green quadrangles of protest ? perhaps a memory of better times; maybe a hope of a better future? One day, when the rain comes, the landscape will recover and a flourishing vista of green will be there for all to see complete with fruitful paddocks, full dams and fat cattle.
The picture reminded me of our role as Christians as we wait another sort of ?reign? ? the reign of King Jesus when he comes to put things right, when he??? reconciles to himself all things whether things on earth or things in heaven??(Colossians 1:20), when??? the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God??(Romans 8:21); when our prayer that??? your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven??is fully answered (Matthew 5:10).
In the meantime, we keep nurturing patches of green grass scattered throughout our neighbourhoods, workplaces, and the other frontlines where God has placed us to provide a foretaste of the day when things will be put to right.
Paul writes,??? stand firm.? Let nothing move you.? Always give yourselves to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain??(1 Corinthians 15:58).?
Referring to this passage, Tom Wright asserts that,???What we do in the present ? by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbour as yourself ? all these things will last into God?s future.? They are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether ? They are part of what we call building for God?s kingdom.?
So where will your nurture a patch of green grass today for all to see?
Murray Wright (19 February 2014)
PS: Would you believe that I got drenched running to board the plane in the late afternoon and nearly froze to death all the way back to Toowoomba!!??