I recently attended a class on doctrine. It was perhaps the most interesting class I had ever had the opportunity of participating in concerning this subject. The instructor/facilitator was a brilliant individual who had many, many years of experience as a practicing theologian/ethicist to his credit as well as being a informed scholar. There was much to be gleamed from the class!
During the class, on of the students referred to our human state as being one “full of rot and waste”. There was laughter at this statement at first but then this statement became a key part of the discussion for the next few days. I don’t think there is a more profound way of verbally capturing the human dilemma than the term “full of rot and waste”.
We live in the time of the history of death. Death is the separation from this present existence and the metaphor for the most horrible reality of our being separated from God. Death is about “rot and waste”. It is in the life of Jesus we find hope in the midst of “rot and waste”. It is in a relation with Jesus we find life that transcends death. Life that moves us beyond history of death into the realm of His-story (Jesus) of life.
Still, we must deal with our own “rot and waste”. If ignored, it just grows in our lives and souls. We feed it with the consumption of this world. We spread it with our ignorance and arrogance. We think we can swim in it without consequence but find we do not swim but sink. We grab whatever or whoever we can and would pull that which is in our grasp down with us as would any drowning person. Thanks be to God that God is not pulled down, but seeks to lift us up.
Our “rot and waste” can only be countered by Jesus’s love, life, and hope. It is in the baptism of the Spirit that we find the fire to cauterize our rot and in the life of the servant that our waste can be recycled and made into good by God. It is in the practice of prayer, the reliance on the Scripture, and the development of disciplines that we are able to develop in our dependence upon the Spirit and our desire to be the servants God has called us to be.
Is it easy? No, it is not! We will fall and fail time and time again. However, our God does not give up on us. Through God’s grace and mercy we can return to the quest. Our goal is perfection. Our goal is to see our rot give way to righteousness and our waste given over to willingness. It is always a struggle as we journey through our time in the history of death, but we have a Savior who will help us succeed.
Yes, we are full of rot and waste, but we also have divine help and hope.