A beetle in all its fullness

JUBILEE ASKS: Does my little beetle have God in its heart? I love my job, and when I get a text from a parent forwarding a question like this, I love it even more. Jubilee, the answer is Yes! Absolutely yes: Your little beetle has God in its heart. And its beetling walk, in fact the fullness of its beetliness, is how it praises God.

In Psalm 148, all things are encouraged to praise God. Sun, moon and stars: praise God! Fire, hail, snow and wind: praise God! Sea monsters and deep waters: praise God! Apple trees and manna gums: praise God! Wild animals and farm animals: praise God! Creepy crawlies and little beetles: praise God! Powerful people and all peoples: praise God! People young and old: praise God! And all things praise God by being what they are in all their fullness. Dolphins leap; eels wriggle; and beetles beetle around; while people love, work, rest, sing, play, pray, and so much more.

But – and this is more for older readers – sometimes we people forget what our fullness can be. We become absorbed in things which disrupt the shalom-peace-wholeness which is God’s desire for the world: that is, we sin and we are entangled in sin. This can happen at an individual or a corporate level, involve action or inaction, and be directed against ourselves, other individuals, whole communities, or the earth. When we engage in or turn a blind eye to sin, we damage ourselves and our relationships with the earth, other people, and God. It makes it impossible for us live in all our fullness, or to praise God wholeheartedly.

This is why we follow Jesus Christ, because in his self-giving love, in his teaching, forgiving, and serving, and in his mature obedience to God’s will, he shows us what it is to be fully human; in his gifts of shalom and healing, he offers the wholeness God intends for us; and in his death and resurrection, he does away with sin and reconciles all things to himself. Indeed, all things are in Christ, and Christ is in all things.

And so, when relationships are right and uncluttered by sin, Christ in me dances with Christ in you – and, Jubilee, Christ in you dances with Christ in your beetle: heart to heart, always. So yes, your little beetle has God in its heart, and it’s the God in your heart which recognizes it.

Peace,
Alison

For more on Psalm 148, Colossians, Christ in creation, and a reconciled way of approaching the world, you might like “Jesus Christ, the apple tree, and me”: here.

Emailed to Sanctuary on 23 September 2020 © Alison Sampson, 2020. Image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

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