Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Myers Park
I sat down on the sunny grass to read my Bible in Myers Park.

I seem to go through phases of finding spots in which to do this, and Myers Park had been my Bible haunt at this time last year while I’d been doing stuff at Rhema nearby. As tends to happen in my weird life, bizarre events had followed me there on several occasions.

One time a foreigner had broken off from his mates to come and sit down next to me on the grass, apologising in his European accent “I’m sorry, but my friends have bet me that I wouldn’t come over here and be gay with you.”

A druid who’d come up for a chat near midnight, before suddenly bellowing something in another language at a volume that filled the entire park, and hurrying off away from me again.

And, of course, those two guys who seem to come down here regularly to practice their fire juggling. On hoops and sticks, you name it. (next week I’m hoping for performing elephants)

Anyway, today the most interesting thing to approach me here was a big leaf.

It suddenly blew across the grass towards me, and stopped expectantly in front of me, begging me to pick it up with the conviction of a panting dog sitting on your head.

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The big leaf, it must be said, was beautiful, especially so in the sunshine. In fact, the leaf was so beautiful that it reminded me of God. The design, the colours, the intricately detailed veins. No matter how close you looked, which was easy in the sunshine, it just got more beautiful.

And that’s the thing about creation. You look at a hillside, and it’s beautiful. You go closer and look at an individual tree, and it’s still as beautiful. You go closer and examine a flower, and it’s beautiful. You scrutinise a petal, and it’s gorgeous. You gently behold the wonder of the countless delicate hairs on its rich green stem. You squint at the network of tiny shining indentations on the skin underneath, and try to seperate them, knowing that as soon as you look away you’ll never find the same one again. You take it home and put it under a microscope, and at each greater and greater magnification you gasp at the universe of alligned perfection hiding inside it. Its beauty actually is infinite.

But this leaf had something else. Damage.

Somehow bits and pieces of it had been charred and scorched and eaten away at. It was no longer perfect, by any means. It was like looking down from space at the surface of a lush vegetation-filled M-Class planet, on which a nuclear bomb had gone off.

And that’s a lot like us. People start out beautiful, but one thing and another damages their soul. Sometimes you can still see the beautiful bits, but sooner or later you see their massive damage. The bits of them where they’ve been so hideously hurt, that that section is now pussing ugliness and hate, instead of beauty and love.

Yet as I looked at the leaf as a whole, it still appeared cheerful despite its wounds. Sure, it could have looked better, it could have been better, but it was still getting on with achieving its purpose of being a leaf, despite everything. If it were more damaged, too damaged, then at some stage it would have been overcome, given up and quietly died.

The more I looked at this leaf, as well as reminding me of the human condition, it seemed to display a map of the whole of fallen creation.

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Still awesomely beautiful, just like those awesomely beautiful people with ugly pussing damage.


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