After posting on Paradise yesterday I continued reflecting on the reality (in this life) of earthly paradise, and this morning a thoughtful comment came in from Andrew Reid pointing out that Christians need to love God more than this world and those who build paradise in this world could be reminded of the parable of the rich fool!
There is trouble in Paradise and other parts of Aotearoa NZ making claim to be paradisal. While it is hard in the January sun with blue water shimmering nearby to do some hard thinking, the reality of life in our fair land is that some have more than others. In terms of summer, not everyone can afford a lovely swimming pool in their backyard - I certainly cannot! In the city I called Paradise there has been an almost criminal laissez-faire attitude to "in fill" housing by the city council so that today some poorer citizens live in dreadful conditions - small houses with virtually no yards down a long shared driveway. Further, as the comment noted above, creation continues to groan, and thus wherever we live in these islands we are under threat of earthquake, floods and erosion. One irony of housing in Paradise is the most expensive houses sit on top of cliffs which are prone to erosion after 1 in 50 year storms.
In other words, as long as the sun shines here it is easy to be complacent. Part of the gospel is an attack on complacency, an urgent call to wake up to what lies below the surface of life which any moment can erupt as the judgement of God on how we live. But how is the church to shape its proclamation in word and deed so it disturbs complacency?