The Cloth and the Stream
Traipsing through this otherwise parched summertime earth, in and out of deciduous forests and prairie grasses, sidestepping limestone and shale, lending depth and sound to God’s nature, the waters of the ever-thinning summer stream could well enough be woven into a tapestry of an ailing life.
We can personify the struggles of the water and the ruts that may never change course – pain, disease, suffering. We can allegorize the panting deer at our shores finding that we have nothing left to give; our only remaining provisions nearly invisible amongst and beneath the creek flats. Beautiful though it is, even the sound that the receding brook produces may be described as proclamations of exasperation. The waters, we see, stifled by rocks and jagged portions of decaying trees, eddy and complain as they trickle on by. This is nature worn thin.
As the heat comes higher, then, all that resembles anything that is well, disappears. The birds take cover somewhere silent. The wind, absorbed by the drought, no longer moves and the trees remain still. The spring beauty that was born some months ago has waned into obscurity. The borders of the creek bed are broken.
We can envision times that we’ve seen the affect that a brief summer shower will have on a cracked, drought-stricken earth. Within the tapestry of an ailing life, sustenance will fall in fine splashes, and the soil that receives them will darken for some short while absorbing the raindrops greedily and completely, and digesting them fully – leaving nothing for the nature and the life-bearing stream that struggles nearby.
The dark clouds move on. The soil regains its barren, dusty and faded coloration and displays its deeply fissured self, like so many puzzle pieces waiting to come together.
The Tapestry that Christ has Woven
It’s true that this is something of a picture of an ailing life – maybe even life in general. But it bears nothing at all of the fullness of truth. Nature, we can be sure, is winding down. Nature is not going to make it through this age. The streams will run dry. It will all come undone one day, just like us. It will happen that one day we will wake up and the next we won’t. And trees will rise and fall. It will happen that one day we will breathe and the next we won’t. One day our heart will beat, and the next it will not. One day we will have no more days remaining here – of this we can be sure.
This very day, though, we will no longer flow through broken shores or broken bodies. This day, no sustenance will miss its Christ-appointed mark – this is a bit of the fullness of truth. One day, the scars and humiliation of a lived life will no longer remain. One fine day the damage that we’ve borne, and the pride that we’ve battled, and the shame that we’ve carried will be finally and fully removed from us, as far as the east is from the west. Disease and pain will be eternally absent. This day, broken hearts will be known no more. Parenting will be done, and our relationships will no longer be tainted by the gravity of sin. Selah.
Despair and depression and dejection – these momentary light afflictions – will have run their arid course while producing within us a weight of glory. A palpable measure of the fullness of Christ will be apportioned to us the day our heart stops beating. We will bask in the glory of God and the fissured earth will be recreated in perfection and majesty.
He who spins the galaxies and turns the ocean tides; He to whom angels and man and nature answer; He who built your bones will walk with you forever. Perfect peace and perfect presence.
We will see, this day, each other as Christ sees us – as He makes us. Our dues will be paid; our flaws no more. And immeasurable beauty will be our praise. Our risen Christ will be our company – this is truth. Our Holy Father will walk among us, brighter than the summer sun and He will be our God, and we will be His people. No more tears. No more sorrow. No more cracked, parched selves. The flood of salvation in Christ has washed these all away and this stream will never go dry.
This is the tapestry that our Savior has woven for us. The fibers will never wear and the sustenance will never flee. The One who bears all love, and holiness, and truth, and majesty, and honor bears you too. And brings you to this love. And grows you even further, forever in this love.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20, ESV).