how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth

a killing frost

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I woke up this morning to this:

I love living in a place with seasons. I love the way the cycle of nature; the death of fall and rebirth of spring; echo our death and rebirth in Christ. And I love that we can be reminded of this year after year after year.

But this morning as I was entranced by the beauty of the coating of frost, standing in the wet grass soaking my slippers because I was so excited to get some pictures I didn’t bother to put shoes on first, I was struck by a new thought: there is amazing beauty even in death. Even in this “killing frost,” as they say, in the clear indication of the winter that is fast approaching, in the stark bareness of branches and brownness of plants, there is still beauty.

I heard a speaker recently who spoke about the familiar story of the garden of Eden and the fall of mankind. But one of the points he drew out in a way I had never heard before was his description of “the grace of death.” Yes, death is still a curse. It is the result of sin, and it will always represent our separation from God and the punishment we all must undergo. And as we experience it and see its effects in this world, it will always tear us apart. I do not in any way want to diminish that reality. BUT think of this (and this is what the speaker was communicating): Adam and Eve sinned. They fell, and in that moment, themselves and all of mankind were separated from God, never able to reach Him in our sinful nature and state. They and all mankind were cursed, and then comes this, in Genesis 3:22-23 –

Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever‘ – therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden…

God knew the plan He already had. God knew that, after this moment, if man was to live forever, they would live forever in a fallen state, trapped in their sins and unable to reach God. Adam and Eve and all their descendants, trapped in a eternal life with no hope. And so he banished them from the garden and to an existence where death, the punishment for their sins, now ruled. In this banishment, and in death, was grace, for God knew that without death, man was truly lost. God knew that, without death, it would be impossible for Christ to die for our sins, and in that grant us the opportunity for a life eternal free from sin once again.

So today I’m thankful for that reminder. I’m thankful that God can reveal his grace even in the curse of death. I’m thankful that He is both judgment and mercy, and simultaneously. I’m thankful for Christ.

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