Readings: Joshua 24: 1-3a, 14-27, Psalm 78: 1-7
Due to my great inability to plant things and get them to grow, I have to work really hard to keep those things that are alive in the garden to stay alive. It does not help, I guess, that all of our soil, including our pots, are full of those fat white worms that decimate the roots of the flowers and the herbs and the vegetables that I am trying to keep going. I have heard that they are called Grubs and I spend a lot of time in our pots digging them out, but I have not been able to get rid of them. Not even the miracle cure you get at the nursery that is meant to eradicate them from the life source of my pepper stalks works. It is apparent that they prefer the taste of the roots to the taste of those little bits of whatever is in that grub removal remedy. I am starting to think that the grub poison acts more like a motivation to multiply and decimate the roots than a means of bringing an end to their dynasty.
I was speaking to our neighbour the other day and she was also complaining that the soil in all of her flower beds and pot plants is teeming with these grubs and that she has found that she can get rid of them from her pots by immersing her pots in water. Apparently, the grubs float to the surface and she is able to scoop them out and dispose of them appropriately (she doesn’t throw them over the wall). I have subsequently tried this, but have only managed to drown the plant and have not found any grubs to scoop off of the top of the water.
Joshua tells the Israelites that they need to make a choice; they either need to follow God and get rid of their other gods or they need to follow their other gods and not pretend to follow God. Joshua is aware of how difficult it is to follow God and be faithful to God when we so easy revert to the gods of our own invention because the gods of our own invention are easier to follow than God. The gods of our own invention do not challenge our sin and do not teach us to love perfectly and do not drive us to end injustice and inequality. Our spirts long for union with God, with Christ, but our hearts struggle to let go of our sin.
When we make the choice to follow Christ, when we are convicted of our sin and our need for Christ, we so often try really hard to root out the sin from our lives. Time and time again we fail to do this and even though we have been born again to new life in Christ, we seem to continue living our old ones. I would like to suggest that this is true because we are not able to root out the sin in our lives. While we have not been able to defeat sin and death, Christ has defeated sin and death and so even though we are unable to root out our sin, Christ is able to; even though we cannot change our sinful nature and change our destructive attitudes, Christ can.
I don’t know if immersing a pot plant in water works for grubs yet; but immersing ourselves in Christ is the only thing that will take us on to perfect love. When we are immersed in the one who has defeated sin, when we are immersed in the Breath of Life, the Holy Spirit will bring all of our sin to the surface as we allow God to root out all of our sin and one attitude at a time, one prejudice at a time, one habit at a time, we are being drawn on to perfection. When we remain immersed in Christ, He will help us dispose of the grubs that eat away at the roots of our hearts and together we can dispose of them appropriately.
Even though I may have drowned my plant by leaving it immersed in water for a few days (I didn’t ask how long it should stay in the water or how long it takes the grubs to float to the surface and so I will be sure to ask in our next conversation), I do know that we cannot live lives worth living; Holy and live-giving lives, unless we remain immersed in Christ.