Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Christine Sine on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Christine’s local newspaper is The Seattle Times. Here is Christine Sine on the Good News. She has entitled this entry: Garbage Into Gold.

THE GOOD NEWS

Compost is amazing stuff. Every year I spread buckets full of rich black loamy material onto my garden. Some of it comes from the local nursery, but a growing portion of it comes from our own backyard piles. We use what is called the cool composting method, which takes a little longer, but has the advantage of requiring very little work on my part. All we do is add dead stuff like yard trimmings and garden waste to the bin as they become available. We water it occasionally and wait. We don’t even take the time to turn the pile. The bacteria, worms, bugs, and fungi all go to work, and one day we open the bin and there is this amazing sweet-smelling black gold. This last year we also bought a stackable worm bin for kitchen scraps. We place fresh food scraps covered by shredded paper in the top tray. When this is full we place another tray on top and watch the worms crunch and munch their way from one level to another.

What goes on in our compost pile and worm bin is truly incredible. Last week, when I lifted the lid, I watched thousands of red wriggly worms diligently at work transforming our stinky food waste and garbage into fertilizer. Gone were the moldy leftovers from the fridge and the rotten potatoes that had not survived our hard frosts this year. Gone were the dead corpses of broccoli plants and discarded leaves. Gone was the smell of death and corruption. Like and unlike had blended together into something totally new. In their place was rich, black, sweet-smelling compost ready to be spread on the garden. It is the best fertilizer around, not only because it adds nutrients to the soil, but also because it improves the soil structure so that roots can grow deeper and water is better retained. Healthy, well-composted soil makes it easier to pull weeds and recycles nutrients and organic matter that helps grow trouble-free plants with less water and less problems with pests. And we get an added glow of reduced garbage bills for costly landfills.

As I contemplated this amazing transformation, I could not help but think of its parallels to the ways that God transforms our lives. Often it is the stinky, smelly, unsavory aspects of our past which we would much rather throw out in the garbage and forget about, that God delights in taking hold of to transform into gold, those fertile, sweet smelling foundations of our faith and ministry. The good news of the gospel is that God can take the addictions, failures, and inadequacies of our past and transform them into new strengths that are then used to further God’s dream of a transformed shalom world in which all live together in love, joy, peace and harmony.

Just as I have discovered in the compost pile it is God rather than us who does most of the work too. All we need is to be willing to allow God to worm his way into our hearts and work the magic of resurrection and new life.

The garden is a place in which I constantly encounter the transforming power of God and the hope of the good news of the gospel. As I commented in my recent e-book Gardening with God: “Each time I plant a tiny misshapen seed, bury it in the earth, and watch it sprout, I feel that I am participating in the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus was very aware of this relationship too. As he expressed it, “Unless a seed of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24, TNIV)”

Thank God for compost and worms! Thank God for the healing and transforming power of the gospel that can take the very worst of who we have been and transform us all into the people God intends us to be!

Christine Sine, is an Australian physician, who developed the medical ministry for Mercy Ships. She has worked in Africa, Asia, Central America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. She is currently CEO of Mustard Seed Associates raising awareness of issues facing Christians in the future and helping to develop creative responses. Her books include GodSpace: Time for Peace in the Rhythms of Life (Barclay Press 2006) and Living on Purpose: Finding God’s Best for Your Life (Baker Books 2002). Check out her blog at Godspace.


10 Responses to Christine Sine on The Good News

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