Divine love summons the world

By Dave Henning / August 17, 2022

“I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world.  I believe that the world was created and approved by love, . . that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.”- Wendell Berry

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”- John 12:24 (NIV)

In Chapter 4 (“Honoring Your Location: The Membership Benefits of Place”) of The Power of Place, Daniel Grothe introduces the reader to Wendell Berry.  Pastor Grothe describes Wendell Berry as an old monkish farmer living the vows of stability for eighty-six years.

First and foremost a farmer, Berry’s writing serves as one long extended parable arising from seven generations of farming.  Yet, in his early twenties Berry left life in rural Kentucky to attend Stanford University.  And, a few years later, he traipsed around the world as a Guggenheim Fellow.  Next, Berry taught at New York University in the Bronx.

However, when he turned thirty, Berry and his wife suddenly packed their bags and returned to Kentucky.  Because Berry found himself losing his old ancestral agrarian soul.  In addition,  in 2010, President Obama awarded Berry the National Humanities Medal.  Berry received the medal for his outstanding achievements in history, literature, education, and cultural policy.

In conclusion, as Pastor Grothe notes, Wendell Berry applied the words of Jesus in John 12:24.  Grothe explains:

“After years of working in the fields, Berry was comfortable letting his career fall to the ground like a seed and die, trusting that God could raise up a harvest of quiet happiness and good work on the other side of this temporary death.  And the harvest has indeed come. . . .  [Berry’ has written eighty books without having ever owned a computer! . . . .  He writes with paper and pencil.”

Today’s question: Do you agree with Berry that God’s divine love summons the world toward wholeness?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Wonders and uncommercial goods”

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Dave Henning

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