Sunday, 19 May 2013
A Treeplanter's View of Pentecost
In a treeplanting camp the tension between a deeply knit community and the desire for individual wealth is strong. People of various backgrounds and worldviews come together in pursuit of being pushed to their limits and making money in a short period of time. Restoring the earth of the trees that have been lost and the strong relational ties that are created in a diverse community are often considered secondary benefits to the money that is made. It is incredibly difficult on both a mental and physical level, so earning your reward is crucial for most (for me!). Yet God chooses to work with our individual aspirations in creating a community of people who genuinely care for one another.
Pentecost is a re-visioning of God's purpose for our lives. It is the healing of Babel and a reflection of Jubilee. In Babel the community becomes one for the purpose of idolatry. The virtue of relational coherence runs wild into a desire to become monolithic gods of one language and purpose. But God does not give up on his pre-designed purpose of diversity and unity in him. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit allows us to speak to one another coherently within the diversity of our languages. In the last few days I have had passionate and respectful conversations with friends from a range of worldviews and perspectives. Whether they know it or not we have come together under the uniting of the Holy Spirit, and fed each other with the wisdom of Sophia written on the heart of all humanity through the power of Christ (Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15-20; Proverbs 9).
While we often unite under the purpose of individual wealth, Christ purposes us into giving of ourselves for the sake of the other. Leviticus 25 calls us to reset our desire for individual wealth and give to each other equally. At Pentecost the early Christians re-vision this call of Jubilee in their own community as "all the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need" (Acts 2:44-45). While this often goes against the central purpose of an individual's purpose to go treeplanting, the mutual suffering and hardship that a treeplanter goes through in a summer often decreases the value of the money that is made (at least in midsummer perception). In order to remain sane and loyal to the daily task at hand individual's turn to one another for support. While the early church experienced much greater hardship then any treeplanter or most western persons today could imagine, I have seen how even the smallest amount of daily suffering can either bring us together or force us apart. May the power of the Holy Spirit continue to bring us together for the purpose of the common good in our communities and global humanity.