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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
10:18 AM | Posted by Pete Gathje | | Edit Post
In the book, Rural Ministry: The Shape of the Renewal to Come, the authors seek to develop a theology of rural life. Part of their theology focuses on God as actively present in rural life. They write, "At their best, rural Christians have had a deep certainty that God is present and active in the world" (133).
This, of course, leads to the question of how do rural Christians see God as present and active in their lives? Perhaps it is easiest to reflect here on God as Creator, as the One who creates and sustains life through the creation. God is present and active in the land, the sky, the clouds, the sun, the wind, the warmth, and the cold. God is present in the growing crops and the livestock. God is present in the harvest as we celebrate the gifts that come from the land. The praise psalms such as Psalm 147 and 148 give voice to praise of God in God's creation.
Additionally, God as Redeemer can be seen as the restorer of relationships, restorer of what has been broken; the One who brings beauty again out of what has been made ugly, and the One who brings fullness out of what had been barren. We may think here of God at work in the patient attending to the well being of the land through planting of crops not for production but for the healing of the land. We may think here of the important work of crop rotation and of farming in ways that resist erosion and the depletion of the soil.
Finally, God as Sanctifier may be seen in the enlivening power that sustains us through the hardships and toil of life. God here is the quiet strength of love over fear and hatred, the ongoing mystery of the victory of life over death. We are empowered to live faithfully to God's call in all areas of our lives through the power of God's Spirit in our lives.
In all of these ways, and more, God is present and active in our lives. Perhaps a daily practice for each of us is to seek to be open to this active presence of God in our lives.