Our faith deals in dichotomies. It teaches a narrow way of living (Matthew 7:13) that includes a wide berth of forgiveness (Matthew 6:12-15). It calls for righteousness (Matthew 5:48) and acknowledges that all sin (Romans 3:23). It asks us to respond to the great needs of this world (Matthew 25:31-46) and to not lose heart by keeping our minds on the world to come (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
We live in the tension of caring for this world, even when it breaks our hearts, and finding encouragement in knowing that God will one day restore his kingdom in such a way that no hearts will break.
Signs of this tension abound - whether it's the shoot that comes out of the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11) or the tree that grows in the squalor of a landfill or the miracle of getting to a place of new birth in someone's life or in a once dead relationship.
Heading photo of a Nicaragua landfill taken by Kelly Clark on a mission trip, as referenced in yesterday's sermon.