"Colossians 1:15-17 “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see–such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”
God relates to nations in much the same way that he relates to individuals, and Furnace Brook is located in a place with a strong sense of identity. Vermont is as distinct a place as any of the 50 states, with geographic, historic, and social boundaries that anyone might cross, but no one can ignore.
And it’s a wonderful place. It’s incomparably beautiful with a good quality of life. In fact, it’s so good a place that most of the people who enjoy it would scoff at the idea that it might possibly be improved by something as backwards as religion.
5 Reasons Why Vermont Needs Jesus
But here are five reasons why we think that Vermont needs Jesus.
5. Vermont is already a religious place, but without religion.
There is a strong religious impulse in Vermont that has somehow survived the collapse and absence of traditional religion. Vermonters are very concerned with being good people, but their piety gets expressed in a hodgepodge of quasi-religions. For some Vermonters the farmers market has taken the place of church, for instance. And we yield to no one in our love of fresh, local produce, but what makes for a good diet still does little to save a soul. The religiosity of Vermonters would be better spent on a religion that has saving power for both this life and the life to come.
4. The heroin epidemic.
We fully support the efforts of law enforcement to prevent the trafficking of narcotics along with all the crime that attends it. And we fully support the efforts of recovery centers, and the Department of Children and Families, and dedicated healthcare providers and a host of others to stitch back together the pieces of lives fractured by heroin.
But this is as much (or more) a spiritual problem and our best efforts will not solve anything apart from a dramatic change in our state’s spiritual landscape.
3. An entire class of Vermonters is languishing and being priced out.
This is related to the preceding point, but a lot of working class Vermonters are feeling left behind by an economy they feel is arranged mostly for the benefit of affluent people with different values. Recreational drugs and departure are both common responses to that perceived reality. But Jesus is, historically, very good for people at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. He gives them worth, purpose, and skills for successful living.
2. The burden of beauty.
Bear with me here; this is going to get a little deep. We can respond to beauty in one of two ways. We can experience beauty with decadence or sublimation. Decadence is when we give ourselves over to the selfish enjoyment of that beauty, as though the beauty of our environment was for the benefit of our pleasure. And sublimation is when we are so moved by the beauty that we offer ourselves in service to the beauty and to the One who can take the credit for it.
Vermont is so beautiful that if its beauty doesn’t result in worship it will result in something subtly poisonous and dangerous to our souls.
As wonderful as Vermont is, it is not perfect. It has skeletons in its closet. There is plenty of corporate sin to repent of. And the idea that we might go on perpetually enjoying God’s blessing while stubbornly rejecting his lordship is a flawed notion.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog