The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

April 21, 2009

Permaculture 4

The most remarkable piece of wisdom I gleaned from the permaculture presentation Heather and I attended last week came when the presenter said,

The species that survive are the ones that can place themselves in the most service to the whole.

Think about that for a moment. We have always been taught that the way to survival is for each person to look after himself. We get ahead by providing for our own needs. Success comes to the one who accumulates the most power, the most talent, the most possessions. I will be happy when I get my way, when my plans, goals, dreams, and aspirations are fulfilled.

But Jesus said, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Bede Griffiths says, “Sacrifice is the law of the universe.” We realize fullness of life by giving ourselves away.

Permaculture agrees; the way forward for all beings is through “service.” We get ahead by giving ourselves in service to others.

It turns out that self-sacrifice is the rhythm of the universe. Giving is the pattern that brings life. It is not by looking after myself that I get ahead; it is by considering your needs and the needs of the world around me. I will truly prosper as I work to support your flourishing.

There is so much concern in the church today for the church’s survival. What if we change our priorities, forget about the church’s survival and focus on the role the church might play in “service to the whole”? What might it look like for the church to see itself as a servant of the flourishing of all creation? How can we serve the community of life where we are?

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