Lines, Circles and Spirals: Growing and Returning to Forever Truths
Last year, my wife Andrea and I were given a gift of a page from an original King James Version Bible containing my favorite verse — Colossians 1:10. It’s an appeal to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” This verse has been a wonderful orientation in my life — deeply helpful as I have sought for meaning and purpose, as well as providing an internal gyroscope for the good and the noble.
I am particularly drawn to the final encouragement to grow in the knowledge of God because it implies flourishing and expansion in a linear direction. The natural world is full of examples of growth of this kind. Upwards, outwards and inwards. This is most spectacularly revealed to us at this time of year in the northern hemisphere, when flowers, trees and shrubs of all kinds begin to bud and flower.
I think it’s safe to say that linear growth (in three dimensions) is one of the most commonly observed phenomena in our world.
However, I’m acutely aware that my life also has cyclical elements to it, which are deeply helpful as I grow. One example of a cyclical element is the celebration of key events, birthdays, anniversaries and commemorative events like feasts. Reminders of vital events that have occurred in the past, but which are worth remembering for the future.
In the life of a believer in Jesus Christ, one of the most important of these is Easter, which returns each year full of the deepest meaning, significance and hope for our lives now and in the forever future.
At first sight, a line and a circle are clearly different. Yet, there is a three-dimensional form which combines a line and a circle, which is a spiral coil.
It seems to me that in the Christian life, this is a helpful visual illustration. God commends to us linear growth (in the knowledge of who He is and in being conformed to the image of His Son) and also a regular return to fundamental and forever truths (“Do this in remembrance of me”) that comprise our faith.
This spiral coil helps us to visualise how we can both grow and yet return to these events with ever-increasing wonder and appreciation.
So, may God richly bless you this Easter and may you return to the event that changed our world forever 2,000 years ago with a new awesome wonder. To appreciate again how the sacrifice of love that His death and resurrection demonstrated has changed our lives forever, and to embrace the flourishing that God has designed for His children who understand the power of this good news to heal, reconcile and transform.
A message which we have received first ourselves and are privileged to share with those who are in prison, their families and victims.