THE REDEMPTION OF ALL THINGS
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 from 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, focus 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.
INSPIRATION AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION FROM A CREATIVE
DISCOVER HOW TO LIVE IN THE NOW AND NOT YET…
Assignment: 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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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 you could express that through drawing, writing, painting, filming, designing or photographing something to share with others here at creativeimagebearers.com.
Optional: In addition to the assignment above, please write a haiku, poem, song or create a piece to express yourself and share it with us!
Final Take-Away to give context…
PROVOKE THOUGHTS, QUESTIONS…
hen 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 expression of their language as well as 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.
here 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.
ll 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 made 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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The Bible Project: Holiness