Re-creation 2019-05-13T14:08:24+01:00

re-creation

THE REDEMPTION OF ALL THINGS

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DISCOVERING AN EMBODIED SPIRITUALITY WITHIN

Re-Creation

REDEMPTION

Isaiah writes to the Jews in exile in Babylon who have just seen the promises of God raised to the ground. Their holy city is rubble and the destruction of the temple marks the end for their beloved city of hope. God’s presence with them as a people seems a distant memory. They abandoned God and now feel the isolation and desolation of a foreign land. Into this stark image, the prophet reminds the people that God has not forgotten them; He shows them a vivid picture of a future complete restoration in the New Heaven/New Earth and new Jerusalem. John then writes centuries later from a cell on the Isle of Patmos; this time to persecuted churches to tell them exactly what a revelation this New Jerusalem will be like, revealing the glory of all the nations of the world welcomed into God’s renewed creation. All things made new. The present, temporary pain, anguish and suffering will be long forgotten. We enter New Creation as a Promised Land, and as human imagebearers made into the perfect likeness of God’s one and only begotten son. As fully matured humanity, we learn to rule and reign with Christ for eternity with Father and Holy Spirit. We will be fully human forever, like Christ, incorruptible and embodied.

1-5 Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age.

– Revelation 22:1-5 (MSG)

“Jesus’ whole life and mission involve accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God’s love. Here we see what compassion means. It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.”

– Henri Nouwen

“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”

– Augustine of Hippo

“Isaiah 60 records a vision of a magnificent city. In it the prophet is speaking to the city, calling attention to various aspects of its appearance. His tone is joyful, his mood excited. This city is not like any other that he has seen among the products of human efforts at urbanization; it is a city built by God. Sometimes Isaiah addresses the city in the present tense; at other points he employs the language of future fulfillment. Though the city has not yet been established, he is certain that it will someday arrive. It is clearly a transformed city. Many of the people and objects from Isaiah’s own day appear within its walls, but they have assumed different roles, they perform new functions.”

– Richard J. Mouw

New Creation

NEW HEAVENS, NEW EARTH

Jesus will return in the same way as He went. He was human when He left and He will return in the fullness of time as a human saviour once more. Heaven will come on Earth. It is more that Heaven returns than that we will go somewhere else. This is what we pray in the Lord’s prayer: a surrender to the will of God. Not my will but yours be done. The final work of the redemption of all things will be done by God, as only He can, but it will include much of what we have done. Our cultures, tribes and tongues will be represented, just as in the account in Isaiah and Revelation about the New Jerusalem. In a similar way the story of Israel, God’s people, and the story of the apostles, God’s church, will be complete. We will get to enter the redemption of all things. One way to think about it is that it will be the incorporation of all that God has done in our co-labouring with Him. Whatever is broken, sinful or deathly is removed and all is renewed in this redemptive plan. The sin we have known our whole lives is temporary and it will be as if it never entered our story.

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Redemption

THEME

Redemption is the act of saving or being saved. While salvation is a one-off thing, it is also something that happens past, present and continuous. Similarly, the filling of the Holy Spirit is both something that has happened and will continue to happen in every believer. He is the fountain of life within us. We are individuals who must turn to God and He builds us into a community, a body, branches in one vine, all nations gathered up into God’s Kingdom. Unified in our diversity. It is not one or the other, but both. The plan of God is a redemptive one. Salvation is available to every imagebearer in every generation, which is why the geneology of the bible is so important. Every part of our story is intrinsically valuable. God and us, witnesses of His faithfulness from generation to generation without end. God is not done until His body and church is complete and until the gospel of the good news for all things has gone to every creature. This is both the call of God on every imagebearer and on His church as a whole. The story of the Bible is a record of God’s imagebearers being witnesses of God’s saving grace. That story continues and our lives and stories are recorded too. There will be many books of God’s story with every people group just as there is a record of God’s story with Israel.

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Entering into the story…

First, we must recognize his own sense of continuity with his heritage. Paul sees himself and his churches as being in a direct line with the people of God in the Old Testament; and despite his deep convictions about the radical implications of the coming of Christ and the Spirit, he regularly reaffirms that continuity. He includes a primarily Gentile church in the events of the exodus: “all our forefathers were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor 10:1–2). – Gordon D. Fee

Read the passage linked below and imagine the scene as if you were a movie director working with the characters. Often, we do not enter scripture with our humanity intact and we do not dignify the characters we find there by giving them their humanity in return. The goal of Lectio Divina is to meditate on the scene we find there and allow the characters to speak to us by vividly imagining the scene as if we are standing there physically too. Ask Holy Spirit to make the scenario come to life as you read using all of your senses to visualise everything in the scene…

Isaiah 65 – As you read this passage think of it as a tweet from Heaven or the message scrawled on the back of a postcard.

What is the core of the message? How does it speak to the basic concerns of human beings? How does it answer the yearning in your soul? The pain of life? The Creative act can be both subtractive (as in the case of a sculpture, rock is removed and etchings are made to reveal the beauty within) or it can additive (when painting, the pigments is added to the canvas to create the beautiful image). Notice what the bible says will be there and what will not. Isn’t it interesting? Imagine a world where this is true. No Pain? No Weeping? Long lives without end? etc. How would a modern day refugee long for all of these things? How would  a father in exile long for home? How would a mother dying of aids long for a better life for her children? That is who this is written to. Every imagebearer longs for these basic things and no matter how successful we may be, we still lies awake at night worrying about them. God will meet them, lets read what the end of the story says…

Revelation 21 & 22:1-5 – When you read this imagine is as an Instagram post or the image on the front of a postcard.

Now we get to see an image of the New Jerusalem, which is a city coming down out of heaven with it’s foundations on the earth. Much of the language is symbolic, but just like Genesis 1 there is much to glean from Re-Creation as there was from Creation. Once again notice what is there and what is not. Why are some things added and some things taken away. What is the deeper meaning behind this? Why does it mention both the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles? How does this fit into the larger narrative? What do you see fro the garden at the start of the bible and why is there a technologically advanced city at the end? What does it say about all the cultures, about nationalities, languages and diversity? How does it speak to the fact that we are not returning to a garden, but instead to the culmination of the co-creative work of the human race? Everything is there. Nature, creatures, heaven and earth re-unified. Imagebearers all present and now we look like Christ and can see him face to face and our heads mirror the glory of God? We will get to rule and reign with Him over the whole cosmos.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
– Michelangelo’s David Sculpture

Restoration is both additive and Subtractive.

1) Prepare: Close your eyes, breathe, clear your mind, and ask God to enter into this time of prayer with you. Ask God to speak to you through this image.

2) Lectio (read): Open your eyes and scan the image. Note what draws your interest, but continue to scan the whole image. Close and rest your eyes a minute.

3) Mediatio (meditate): Open your eyes and let your eyes be led. Focus on just the part of the image that caught your eyes and name it. Close your eyes, seeing that piece of the image in your mind.

4) Oratio (pray): Open your eyes and look again at the piece of the image that caught your eye. Allow it to bring forth a word, image, or emotion. Close and rest your eyes.

5) Contemplatio (contemplation): Open your eyes and gaze at the whole image. What is God speaking to you today through this image? How will you respond to Him? Spend time processing that with God. Pray or journal about it.

When you compare the Restoration video with this one about the destruction of the Image of God in this Jesus painting, what does this mean for the redemptive act? How can we restore or destroy God’s image in the world in ourselves or in others?

Embodied Spirituality in Practice

A DISCIPLINE OR PRACTICE TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR LIFE.

Where God’s Story and Our Story increasingly become ONE narrative. The two shall become one.

IMAGEBEARER: TENSION REFLECTION

Getting in touch with our own Imagebearing, fully human future…

Notice the Tension between Our Story, God’s Story, and how all of our works will be tested and refined by God so only what is very good remains. Our work matters and we will see some of our images in the New Creation.

God does the Lion’s share of the work; the work of salvation, sanctification, creation, sustaining, holding and moving the story forward as Triune God. He is doing far more than we can imagine in this process. His sovereignty over all means that He knows what needs to happen and when and He looks for imagebearers who will agree with Him, work with Him, act in obedience and risk all to see God’s kingdom come. This takes great trust on the part of God and great risk on our part. But, God who is both the beginning and the end will bring all things to pass in His perfect timing. Finally, the work of redeeming and reconciling and making all things new is also God’s alone. Only He is powerful enough to renew and re-create Heaven and Earth.

Our work is important; even often mundane things when done in the will of God are in fact eternal. Our lives are important and we contribute in a very real way to the coming Kingdom. This is because God’s kingdom is coming here and His will is being done by generation after generation of imagebearers. From the very start, God has been inviting us to work and co-labour with Him. What is in His will for us and what makes us fully human will indeed last with all that God has done on our behalf to redeem and reconcile all things to Himself. Our DNA, our histories, languages and cultures will be welcomed in.

So only what is in the will of God will remain, redeemed, reconciled and inclusive of all people groups, languages and cultures across all times. The graffiti and grime of sin is removed leaving God’s story and our Story into One Big Story encapsulating the Story of God and the Story of Man, The Divine Image reflected in His Human Imagebearers.

Here is a related Spiritual Practice called “Singing our Lives” for you to explore.

Application

DISCOVERING AN EMBODIED SPIRITUALITY OF DESIGN CREATIVITY AND THE ARTS.

At each step along the itinerary of the Biblical Timeline we will look at how the following themes come into play at each juncture of the journey…

God’s plan was always to take the Human family and the Trinity and make them one in fellowship. To redeem His creation and restore it. To take what exists and not hit reset, but to pull back the graffiti of violence, pain and sinfulness to reveal both the wonder of His creation made new as well as the glory of the nations, every tribe and tongue and nation as God desired it to be. So, we will worship in many languages, have unique clothing and cultural presentations. We will see what God has been doing not only in Israel but in every nation of the earth. God has been working as Trinity to redeem our history, our families, our land and to heal the nations with the tree of life. He will wipe every tear from our eyes and allow us to enter the promise He has set forth before us. We will be in Heaven where He is, but it is not a dismembered disembodied existence. Instead, Jesus will return and we will all be given resurrection bodies like His. He is the template that all creation will be restored too. By the Word of Christ, God formed the world with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. God will take this world and restore it, take our lives which are now corruptible and make them incorruptible, take our earthly bodies and give us eternal bodies. We will be where He is and yet will also be recognisable to one another, we will be fully known and fully redeemed, just as fully human as Jesus is in the presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This is the culmination of all things. The human race will end in a perfect re-creation and redemption of both heaven and earth and all rifts and brokenness and disfigurement will be removed forever. We will be fully matured in our humanity. We will spend eternity working, learning, ruling and reigning with God there. Our bodies will take on new properties, but we will be human forever just as Jesus is human now forever. He is preparing a place for us filled with the wonders of creation. If it is so beautiful down here, how much more beautiful will it be there. Everything will be embodied spiritually and we will be able to see and know as we are known. Our humanity will be complete and full and we will recognise each other there. Some of what we worked on here will be there too. We will continue to invent, make music and live in communities together, using our gifts and abilities as we were designed to do from the start but without a hint of the pain, sadness or agony of life here. It will be as if we did not have this temporary sin at all, but as if our cultures and our lives had been untouched by it. We will have learned some of how to rule and reign with God while here, and this will continue unhindered for eternity there. God will take this world, heaven and earth will be refined and renewed in its entirety.

As we work here, the best of our labour will build the kingdom that we will partake of there. It is the same story and the same purpose and plan of God from the start that will be seen through to fruition in the end. God will complete the good work that He has begun in us. However, we will not be taken out of this world. Instead, this world which was good in the beginning will be made very good through redemption in the end. Obviously here we do not have any way of interacting with those who have gone before and neither do we have a way to interact with angels and the unseen spiritual world, most of it is hidden from us. In the New Creation – that is new heaven and new earth – we will be privy to all of that knowledge, culture, technology and riches. Each nation will bring their own stages of human development to fulfil their contribution to the Kingdom of God. We will be surrounded and engage with new designs, write and compose new music, and develop science and technology, all of which will not negatively impact the environment. It will be untainted by corruption; our work will last and will not wear out, rust away or be stolen from us. We will delight in God’s presence and live in complete peace and unity in all of our increasing diversity.

Paul speaks so clearly of how the gospel he is preaching in the churches encapsulates not just our souls or spirits, but all of us, in every part, all of creation in every part, and that God wants it all back. Just like Job, God suffered the loss of all things, but in the end Job was restored even more than what He initially lost through what He suffered. (Job 42:2-5) “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” What a beautiful picture of complete restoration. God has everything He has made back home with Him once more. He has been longing for the return of all things as we see in Luke 15, God longs for His creation, for His creatures and for His imagebearers to be found and to be home with Him where we belong and all will be completely restored. This is good news indeed!

The pain we feel here is one of loss. God feels it too. It is a weight that the lost sinner feels and may not be able to put His finger on, but there is also a longing in the son who lives and works for His father as within the church we may be serving God for His approval. God does not want sons who are slaves, who feel that their work for Him is a guarantee of their salvation. He wants Sons who will inherit all that He has, be restored, be reconciled not just to Him but to all things made new. There is a process that is quite an upheaval. Like an art restorer God needs to carefully and meticulously remove all that has tainted, distorted and disfigured His creation, every mark of disease, pain, sin and infection must be removed. Since He created everything through His word (Christ) in the beginning, it is something only God can do in the end. He must do this final work of sanctification for all things. There will be a refiners fire that looks at the quality of each person, each culture, all nations and removes by refining out the good we have done too. Our lives, our histories and our nations matter, because we matter in our entirety. God loves every part of us and will transform us into a bride that is fit to rule and reign with His son, Jesus. If there was a first Adam and from him God created a bride. So in the second Adam, Jesus, God will create a bride too: His church. Can you see how Old and New Testament mirror each other. The first was sunken in sin and death and the grave. The second, new creation is right now rising from the grave, restoring sight and hearing and making us whole for Him. Jesus lowered Himself so that we can be raised up in Him.

If we know that what is of God in our co-labouring with Him will last, we know that every word that restores, every service that saves lives, every action that makes a difference to those in emotional, physical, psychological or spiritual need, will last too. Those who hear this good news and come to Christ and acknowledge that He is the Son of God will be saved. They will be there with us. Also, just as we see the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles mentioned in the New Jerusalem, so the best of not just Israel but form each of our nations, will be included somehow too in this ongoing story of God and story of us. It is God continuing His plans and purposes with us into eternity. Since it was collaborative here, it will be collaborative there too. We are told we will judge the angels, that we will rule and reign and be discipled there into taking on a creative and purposeful role in eternity. Heaven will be more than harps and clouds and golden streets. We need to develop a vivid picture of the New Creation that incorporates an embodied existence, that is what makes us distinctive from the angels… We are imagebearers here and it is in preparation for How we will continue to be there along with many friends from the past, all of the saints, apostles and prophets and we will meet them and learn from each other in the process. Every generation that God has redeemed will be there and we will fellowship at a banquet for the nations.

Our view of where we are going should radically change our lives here. We should have such a ravishing view of the New Jerusalem and what God will do that when we encounter pain, suffering and death here, we are assured that this is just a glitch in the system that will be worked out. It is real and painful and we and God have paid a great price in the midst of our living here, which is in many ways a preparation for our lives there. But when we enter New Creation once Jesus returns to earth just as He left, He will do the final work, the final judgement of all things and redeem those who have responded to His invitation, incorporating them into this promised land of Heaven and Earth reunited. 1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him.

Creative expression

INSPIRATION AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION FROM A CREATIVE

PAN PIAWONG

FINE ARTIST/PAINTER:

Coming soon…

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Creative Assignments

DISCOVER HOW TO LIVE IN THE NOW AND NOT YET…

This is a chance to express yourself creatively. Perhaps something in this part of the timeline has challenged, excited or inspired you. You may want to think about how your could express that through drawing, writing, painting, filming, designing or photographing something to share with others here at creativeimagebearers.com.

So write a haiku, poem, song or create a piece to express yourself and share it with us!

add-e1557741871377.png Do the assignment under Lectio Divina here. Create a postcard written to someone you love about the future hope of New Creation – a fully restored heaven and earth, just like this one but everything made right. Read through Isaiah 65 – As you read this passage think of it as a tweet from Heaven or the message scrawled on the back of a postcard. Notice what jumps out at you and write a short message on the back of a postcard, to encourage someone that you know who is struggling. 

Then, read through Revelation 21 & 22:1-5 – When you read this imagine is as an Instagram post or the image on the front of a postcard. Now illustrate the front of the postcard by drawing, or creating a collage of images from magazines or mixed media to reveal the best things about New Creation. What will be added or subtracted from what we know and love about this present beautiful but fallen creation. It is this same creation that God is redeeming and making brand new.

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Final Take-Away to give context…

PROVOKE THOUGHTS, QUESTIONS…

When we see the imagery and the poetic language of Isaiah 65 and Revelation 21 and 22, we should be astonished to find that some things are brand new (no sun, no death, no pain) and that some things will be very familiar. For instance, the New Jerusalem will be filled with all sorts of familiar precious stones we find here, the whole story of God is represented in its foundations, its walls and its gates. The 12 tribes of Israel are part of this image, the 12 apostles too. The church and the saints, but also minority groups of the earth, the glory of their cultures, the beauty of their fashion, the sounds of their music and the music of their language and the grace of their dance… All incorporated and included, embodied by joy and peace, and reconciled into one people, one kingdom, and yet filled with expansive, diverse, and unique culture… everyone is to be celebrated.

There will be a tree of life and a river, just like the first creation in Eden, but now incorporated into this one story is a new image of the tree of life bringing healing to every nation in its leaves. A kind of medicine for all the wrongs. Once again, creation will be there to bring medicine and all of this surrounded by a technological city and beautiful architecture. The goal of the story is not to send us back to the garden. No, this is an entirely different place in which God has prepared a place for all of the saints, past, present and future. A great cloud of witnesses all partaking in the body of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit and called home from prodigal nations to a great feast.

All will be re-created. Perhaps it will be like the ending of the story God always planned for His imagebearers if sin had never entered into the story. Yet, the lamb was still slain in the beginning and bears the marks of His sacrifice still in the end. Jesus, will be among us and will be human as we are. Now, He will be Christ over all, central to it all and the second part of the Trinity with all of the power and standing He had before He became human. But, He will also very much be human. Our humanity is elevated to the highest place in Him. How far, we fell from God’s purposes and how high Jesus lifts us up unreservedly at the right hand of the Father. We are all mad first in Him and will be happy for all that is not of Him in our lives to be washed away in the final judgement of our works and lives.

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