Your job is to pull up and tear down, take apart and demolish, and then start over, building and planting (Jeremiah 1:10)
The prophet Jeremiah is offered a ‘brown-field’ commission by God. Not for him the option of ‘green-field’ construction. No; Jeremiah’s understanding of his vocation is such that he will not be able to avoid the eyesore- ridden, run-down, dilapidated, redundant and squalid areas of our psyches, relationships, common life and social fabric. God’s Civil Engineering of Grace is a regeneration project of epic dimensions because it encompasses every person with cherishing love and hopeful, purposeful intention. All are included in this collective Kingdom paradigm of equality, responsibility, commitment and accountability. Building lives, relationships and societies of love, justice and compassion is the (unchanging) job spec for those willing to let their brief and precious existence be shaped by God’s presence.
We are called to take the wrecking-ball of compassion to all that is unjust, demeaning and hurtful, to all that divides, diminishes and degrades our humanity. We are tasked to “pull up and tear down, take apart and demolish” structures which promote, maintain or shield such things as these. And to do this without ever resorting to the methods which built them in the first place. God engineers with compassion, constructs with compassion, is pure compassion. WE – US – TOGETHER is the overall creative plan. The simplicity, sustainability and mutualism of Jesus’ compassionate way of loving are the tools. Empowered and inspired by God’s Spirit, construction is delivered on site with insight by you and me in trusting partnership. We build and plant structures of grace and love. The skyline of contemporary life is to be transformed by this architecture of compassion and justice.
And what really mesmerises me in this text is God’s 2:1 imperative. The ratio of destruction to construction is just that, 2:1. Every act of building and planting is matched by a double emphasis on demolishing and tearing down. God’s yearning that we should be set free sets the priority for our action together as compassionate disciples of Jesus.
Just imagine it: no listed buildings and no preservation orders to keep in place structures which are no longer fit for purpose, because in the divine economy bricks and mortar are always a means to an end. No ‘no-go’ areas or sink estates. No gated communities. Just compassionate people working to transform our communities. Light, warm, welcoming, inclusive and intentional spaces are what God seeks to construct in our minds, hearts and neighbourhoods. And that is a ‘brown-field’ commission for each one of us, straight from God.
The Charter for Compassion is a good place to start. Why not sign up today?
“The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.”
“We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.”