The nation watches in horror as wildfires rage across California. “Why would God let this happen?” many ask. Here is something we must keep in mind. Forest fires are a natural process that cleans out the dead wood and unlocks the next generation of trees. It actually purifies the forest.

This week in our Alive series, we continue through Brian McLaren’s book We Make the Road by Walking and come to chapter Forty-Nine: Spirit of Holiness. The key texts for our sermons our 1 John 3:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 3:9-15.

McLaren helps us understand the purpose and process of God’s judgment. God’s desire is not to condemn the world. Rather, it is to purify the world–to rid it of evil–so that good can run free. He says,

If we believe in judgment–in God’s great ‘setting things right,’ we won’t live in fear. We’ll keep standing strong with a steadfast, immovable determination, and we’ll keep excelling in God’s good work in our world. If we believe the universe moves toward purification, justice, and peace, we’ll keep seeking to be pure, just, and peaceable now. If we believe God is pure light and goodness, we’ll keep moving toward the light each day in this life. Then, someday, when our time comes to close our eyes in death, we will trust ourselves to the living Light in which we will awaken, purified, beloved, forever.

Here is my sketch of these thoughts:

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