Reconciliation 2019-02-06T12:10:57+01:00

reconcilation

AN INVITATION TO TRINITARIAN FELLOWSHIP

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DISCOVERING AN EMBODIED SPIRITUALITY WITHIN

Reconcilation

TRINITARIAN FELLOWSHIP

The Bible ends in a similar vein as it began. With the fellowship and the reunification of Heaven and Earth as a reality. This time, instead of God being separate from His image bearers, His creation and all reality, now everything God made receives an invitation into a new Trinitarian belonging. Jesus as a creature invites all creatures, spiritual and physical, to come to rest in full Trinitarian fellowship. Every atom, cherubim, rank after rank of angels and every authority in this world and the next, reconciled to God. Jesus’ humanity makes the way for us to partake of a future where we don’t see Him darkly. Instead we look into his face and see our own faces reflected back in a shared humanity. The Redemption of cultures – every nation, every tongue and every tribe will be present and accounted for. Music, fashion, invention, genealogy and history included. God glorified and worshipped through each embodied spiritual, cultural expression. Everything not of God, work that we have done that is not of Him, Imagebearers who refuse to partake of this fellowship – will be excluded by their choice – God respects their will here and now and for eternity. Everything else: reunified. Reconciled in every part to Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Once again as at the start, humanity will be the pinnacle of new Creation. We will find our home, and perfect rest, in God’s eternal presence.

11-13 But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

– Ephesians 2:12-22 (MSG)

“This is what life is about. It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made. When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home. Compassion- which means, literally, “to suffer with”- is the way to the truth that we are most ourselves, not when we differ from others, but when we are the same. Indeed the main spiritual question is not, “What difference do you make?” but “What do you have in common?” It is not “excelling” but “serving” that makes us most human. It is not proving ourselves to be better than others but confessing to be just like others that is the way to healing and reconciliation.”

– Henri Nouwen

“That Jesus Christ loves us all and has included us everyone in his life with his Father and the Holy Spirit, I consider to be an absolute, eternal fact. That every human being will come to experience this life fully, I consider to be a hope, but not a fact. It is a hope grounded in the astounding love of the blessed Trinity—in the endless fidelity of the Father, the complete and finished work of Jesus, and the redeeming genius of the Holy Spirit. I think we have every reason to hope for everyone to come to know the truth so as to experience salvation. But to make such a hope an absolute fact, or a conclusion, or a doctrine is, to me, a mistake. That would be to deny, theologically speaking, the authenticity of our personhood and our real freedom to participate. We are real to the Father, Son and Spirit, distinct persons within the life of God, with our own minds, hearts and wills, which will never be violated by the blessed Trinity. So there remains the possibility that in our distinctness, we will choose to live against our own beings. Such a violation of reality is as absurd as it is painful, but possible. It is not possible for the Father, Son and Spirit to morph into another God, with another dream for humanity. In this universe, and in all universes to come, the Father, Son and Spirit will never, ever give up their dream that we would all come to experience fully the trinitarian life together.”

– Baxter Kruger

Reconciled

UNIFIED

The Older son in the prodigal story was less than pleased to see his worthless younger brother had dragged his sorry carcass home, yet the Father could not have been more delighted!

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In Trinitarian Fellowship

THEME

Reconciliation is when things that are at odds are fitted back together, integrated, made whole and unified in peace, restored and their concerns are met in forgiveness and the two shall become one. Our Humanity and the Trinity are two aspects that perhaps we thought would forever be irrevocably divided. Yet, Jesus takes our humanity back to His position in the Trinity. Similarly, Humanity is made space for in God Himself in the Incarnation. Jesus is grafted in, fully human. Gentiles are grafted in to the promise of God for His chosen people too. Jesus a Palestinian/Jew solves conflicts that have always been with us. By Jesus’ human blood and body crucified, He reconciles all back to God. Now, He is both human forever, and holding it all together! Jesus is the skeleton key that unlocks the whole of reality and the possibility of God reuniting everything in the midst of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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Entering into the story…

The triune God acts covenantally in history: the Father creates, the Son redeems, and the Holy Spirit recreates. The creation, fall, redemption, consummation storyline is the central theme of the Scriptures and it forms the Bible’s overarching literary structure. Fall and redemption are meaningless outside of the context of God’s creation. – Mike Williams

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…

Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭31-39

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Colossians 1:19-23

Romans 5:10-11

How do these verses speak of bringing what is at odds together; making friends of foes, ensuring justice is met, forgiveness is entered into, truth wins out and reunification occurs, needs are finally met, voices are heard. How are we able to reconcile with one another and with God? Only God can do this, but any act we do to reconcile, to forgive, to have mercy upon, sto eek justice for or to lay our lives down on behalf of others… is a prophetic statement of how this story, our story and God’s story will end, in perfect everlasting peace.

The Roof of the Sistene Chapel

Telling the whole story with art… Painstaking back breaking work. Spine changed and bent as a result.

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.

Every chip from every cup
Every promise given up
Every reason that’s not enough
Is falling, falling at your feet

Every band elastic limit
Every race when there’s nothing in it
Every winner that’s lost a ticket
Is falling, falling at your feet
I’ve come crawling, falling at your feet

Everyone who needs a friend
Every life that has no end
Every knee not ready to bend
Is falling, falling at your feet
I’ve come crawling, now I’m falling at your feet

All fall down (All the manic dazed faces that you pull)
All fall down (All the action is not under your control)
All fall down (The graffiti rolling down off of your tongue)
All fall down (And the compromise you make for some)

Every teenager with acne
Every face that’s spoiled by beauty
Every adult tamed by duty
They’re all falling at your feet

Embodied Spirituality in Practice

A DISCIPLINE OR PRACTICE TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR LIFE.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

– Matthew 25:34-40

IMAGEBEARER: TENSION REFLECTION

Getting in touch with our enemies, the foreigner and the stranger…

Notice the Tension when you hear Jesus say, “For as you have done unto the least of these imagebearers, you have done unto me.” [paraphrased] How do you feel towards…

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbora]”>[a] and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

– Matthew 5:43-48

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

– Luke 6:27-36

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

– Ruth 2:10

So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt

– Deuteronomy 10:19

“When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. “When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. “When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

– Deuteronomy 24:19-21

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

– James 1:27

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

– Psalm 68:5

 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

– Matthew 6:1-4

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

– Matthew 5:3-10

Here is a related Spiritual Practice called “Forgiveness” 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…

Just as God created everything out of nothing and spoke everything into existence so God will take everything that exists and redeem it all. Every atom will be transformed by the same power that raised Christ from the dead. We will be transformed, but will still be embodied. In the beginning God created everything as distinct from Him. He had communion with all things, and all things reflected Him but it was not incorruptible. In the end all things will be reconciled to God and God will bring the whole of Creation, Humanity and every creature and atom into Trinitarian Fellowship. Instead of God being apart from the created order… through Christ, God will bring all of who He is together with all that is to make one family out of the two. Father, Son and Holy Spirit will be reconciled with all that is into an eternal and incorruptible life. Heaven and earth will be reoriented in perfect congruency. Angels and cherubim and seraphim and all the host of heaven will be with us and we will see as we are seen in creation. We will rule and reign with Christ, embodied and human forever as co-heirs in this new family. The glory of the nations will be brought into New Creation too. God will honour His creation by redeeming it and He will honour the best of our culture by including it, but nothing evil, corruptible or sinful will enter. Our work will be tested and only what is of God will remain. Everything not of God we will be happy to be rid of. We will live in full communion with Christ and be sons and daughters as well as the bride of the lamb.

As human beings created in the image of God, we have seen the highest pinnacle of creation and descended to the depths of depravity. The gamut of our existence has taken us to great heights and also to the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus had to come to travel this journey with us. Father God had to watch His imagebearers in the Old Covenant as they attempted to pursue His leading out of the wilderness and into the Promised land in Exodus, just as they came out of Egypt. Now, the Holy Spirit has come to give us one Spirit that will fill every believer to unify us into the body of Christ corporately and communally. God has been working within us, revealing Himself to us and transforming us from despising ourselves to realising that He loves us beyond belief. He reframes our humanity from an Achilles’ heel into our greatest asset. We are human and He became human to redefine what it means to be human. He then reconciled Himself as fully human to God, and in doing so, checkmated evil into a corner, conquering death, the grave and took the final sting away. Now, whether we live or die, we are with God and we don’t need to deny our humanity to be acceptable to Him, He accepts our humanity and longs for us to follow Him in accepting it back from exile. It is the key to the whole story of God, which is the story of humanity. God joining with us to reconcile all things to Himself.

This final reconciliation is really the work of God. We often think that we are working for God, but He is actually working for us. He is doing much more in saving, sanctifying and reconciling us than we are privy to. He always has been working in our midst, but often our greatest enemy in our business. He has called us not to work for Him as much as to enter His rest. He has made a place where we join with Jesus to rule and reign with Him now and in the future where any service we offer to God is done out of a place of resting in the finished work of God. (Matthew 11:30) Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” To be reconciled is to come to rest. To know that we have been heard even before the words are uttered, to know that we belong and that we have a place, that our needs are met, that our deepest concerns that used to keep us up at night have been totally met. A deep rest descends and it does not mean that we cease to work or act, but simply that we no longer need to jostle for position, weigh in on our point or convince others that we are right, as all things will be made right. We no longer need to find our voice, or demand attention. We can rest because Justice has been met.

This final picture of all things is massively important. God was not content to save our souls or just save our spirits for heaven, sucking them up in a rapture narrative to keep them for Himself in heaven. That is more like a parasite than the God of the Universe. No, God has been in it for all of it. He will not lose everything in the end and equally, neither will we. Heaven will be as diverse as Creation was here and more so. We may be able to interact with all creatures extinct or not, all imagebearers who called on God’s name in the Old and New Testament. Indeed the books of our history will be written there, our names will be in the Lamb’s book of life. There will be accounts of every nation and people group on earth and how God was working as Trinity to redeem them all. In every generation, God has been at work with every imagebearer using every means He can to reveal Himself to them. We are told that all the books in the world could not account for all the works that Jesus did as an imagebearer, but there will likely be libraries filled with books of the narrative for each nation and we will meet the people who in obedience to God acted in their age and time to reveal God to the nations of the world. It will be a vivid picture of each person who ran the race and finished well. What stories we will tell there! We will remember the price and the cost but none of the pain and suffering will last. Perhaps like Jesus we will have scar tissue of our own stories as conquerors inheriting the land that we have long fought for.

Our world and our humanity is divided and conflicted. We have hated, abused, killed and maimed one another, we have stolen land, property and envied one another since the fall. Our relationships are broken, our lands are eroded and our planet has been abused. The creatures flee from us and we are at war with ourselves and with those we love. To think of loving our enemies is too difficult, we struggle with our neighbours. We have huge disagreements over history, over holy sites, over the facts of our past and we feel shame. We blame one another for our predicament and see no way of healing the rifts caused by colonialism, by genocide, by death. Oh the suffering that has entered our world that is a result of our joining with the evil one and agreeing to retaliate with violence and seek to crush the other in our midst. How is God going to rectify all this and not do away with us in the process? Is that even possible. The Biblical narrative outlines this in no uncertain terms. God will reconcile all things. Even the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and He will do it through the eternal work of a Palestinian/Jew – Jesus.

Every effort we make here has an element of pain and cost to it. It takes energy, contemplation, risk and challenge to do the most simple of tasks. We are battling distraction, conflict, misunderstanding, budget restraints, management issues or personnel shortages. Everywhere we turn there is something amiss, a lack of resources, a lack of skill or a lack of knowledge. In some countries we battle corruption and bureaucracy at every turn. It’s no wonder we lose our joy in the journey. However, we do know that God will make our work a joy and in pouring our lives out for one another, we actually find ourselves within our serving. It takes brave men and women of God to image God to the world in every aspect of their lives. To be learning to rule and reign with Him here is a preparation, very like purgatory where we get to discover God in the midst of the storm, and though we are often afraid, we trust the He will restore our joy, restore a sense of purpose and empower us to be His witnesses at home, at work, in our families and communities and nations. To show people a new way to be human, just as Jesus has shown that to us so vividly.

(Colossians 3:1-3) “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” We are to live embodied, fully human lives. Aware of our humanity… Our vulnerability, our brokenness and finiteness. We don’t have to have it all together, but we do need to be honest with one another and with God. Transparent and integrated as only God can enable us to be. We know we will fail and may not image God as well as we hope, but we are being transformed as long as we are following Christ into the presence of God and living with the reality of both our humanity and our place of belonging carved into a human shape of the true imagebearer who now sits at the right hand of God, the Father. Jesus Christ has made a way for our lives to be included in His life. You will always be you, with your history, your vocation and your gifts and personality and that is exactly how God loves you into His arms. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4) “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

Creative expression

INSPIRATION AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION FROM A CREATIVE

BECKY FRITH

MUSICIAN:

Coming soon…

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Creative Assignments

SOME EXAMPLES

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!

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Final Take-Away to give context…

PROVOKE THOUGHTS, QUESTIONS…

Just as the universe is expanding, so is the expanse of the gospel; at each juncture of the journey, becoming more and more inclusive of everyone and everything. The plan has always been cosmological and at the end will be all encompassing. The invitation which was exclusive of one man and one woman, spread to one family, 12 tribes, one nation. Similarly through Christ’s coming as the second Adam, calling 12 apostles, God is forming the church, filling us with the Holy Spirit and empowering us to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. So the good news has now spread to all imagebearers; first Jew then Gentile, as God has opened the floodgates to all tribes, all peoples and all tongues in a sweeping invitation to join Him in the New Creation. Only those who accept the invitation can come, but the invitation is sent out to all imagebearers in every time and place so they can respond. Just as in the beginning, God respects our free will, not all will return to Him, but He longs to be reconciled to every nation as they are added to the body of Christ and for all things to be put under Jesus’ feet and made right, reconciled together in the sabbath of shalom.

So we are once more in an exodus into a Promised Land the God has prepared for us. We will have many battles to fight along the way, but the final act is one only God can do. It is a complete upgrade on the Old System. The whole universe will be changed at Christ’s coming. We will all be changed and renewed into a New Heaven and a New Earth where we will rule and reign with God over everything as co-heirs with Christ. A complete reconciliation of all things, the brokenness of the spiritual world, the fragmentation of the physical world will be integrated and made whole by the same resurrection power we have already been privy to. Now, it will be a completed work by God.

God longs to take all that He has made, all we can see and all we can’t see and reconcile it to Himself as Father through the work of the Son and by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. So, unlike in the beginning where Creation was separate from God and susceptible to sin and separation, the end of the Story is how God will take His glorious creation, all His imagebearers and their culture and reconcile it into Trinitarian Fellowship. We say Location, Location, Location when we are trying to plan a home. So God wants to take Trinity, Humanity and His Church and reconcile them together. You are only exempt from this if you exclude yourself from it

“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6)

Your take-away

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU

Questionnaire

Additional Resources:

Creative Imagebearers Workbook – Aleck Cartwright:

Daryl Davis speaks on converting 200 white supremacists to leave the KKK:
https://youtu.be/HLtp13Rw8Kc

Full documentary: Accidental Courtesy
https://youtu.be/xS34J8MjAp8