Sharing conversation over a cup of coffee, someone recently asked me if I could ever imagine living in a perfect world. I’ve used the “in a perfect world” phrase plenty in my lifetime, but usually in an anecdotal sense. Until my friend asked this question in a serious manner, I really had not given much thought to what a perfect world would look like. Mostly, I guess, because I know that as long as we live in a fallen broken world, we cannot ever fully comprehend living in a “perfect world.”
Case in point:
This morning during my drive into work I was in very good spirits. The sun was shining and my travel mug was filled with hot and fresh coffee. Traffic flowed exceptionally smooth for a weekday commute and I made every green light leading to the interstate. But then the radio station to which I was listening began to fade into static. Naturally I began to complain, even though no one was there with me. In a perfect world there would be no static because radio signals would travel infinitely, so there would be no need for complaining.
Finally the station’s clarity returned and I was able to listen to the rest of the news broadcast. Budget shortfalls, robbery, murder, and unemployment were the headlines competing for top billing. It seems the more our government tries to “fix” things, the more confusion, contempt and controversy sets in. In a perfect world there would only be good news because there would be no violence, bigotry, greed or shame and everyone would strive for the same goals, that is, to keep things perfect.
After arriving at my office, I made a bee line for the Keurig coffee maker but noticed someone had consumed that last of my favorite K-Cup coffees. Oh there were still plenty of the others, but I was looking forward to the final cup of Newman’s Own. Again, in a perfect world there would be no need to complain because all of the coffee would taste as good as Newman’s Own Extra Bold. If only we lived in a perfect world.
Come to think of it, when we consider what it may be like living in a perfect world, most of us likely consider our own view of perfection. We tend to think our way would be best and if everyone and everything were to conform to our standard. That would be perfect right? Well, we all know that’s not truly the case; our standards and ideals, no matter how well intended they may be are always subject to our human condition. They are always riddled with the flaws of inherent sin. Thankfully, God has something to say about that.
The apostle Paul writes, “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21). Only one human being ever lived perfectly in this world; not that the world was perfect, he was. Jesus, fully God yet fully human lived as we live, experienced the human struggle as we experience it, and did so without imperfection. Jesus remained fully obedient to God even unto death. Our Lord took the entire weight of sin upon himself and made the final atonement for humanity in the victory of the cross. For this, God raised him on the third day and exalted him to God’s right hand in glory. It is through Christ Jesus that we too may one day realize the fullness of God’s kingdom and glory, and dwell in God’s perfect world. Yet until such time, Christians are called to be in this world, even as through Christ we are not of this world.
No, the world is not perfect, and even in our pettiness and complaining we do our share to keep it that way. But even as we strive to live according to the laws and promises of God, Christ is with us, enabling and empowering us as disciples living for the sake of others. We may not be perfect, but God’s love and forgiveness is. The perfect world of God’s kingdom awaits us, but for now, with God’s help we can strive to make this one a little bit better each and every day.
Now where is that coffee……?