Friday, October 13, 2006

embracing grace 6: page after page

In this chapter, Scot helps us see clearly the importance and centrality of community. In God. In humankind. And in God's work of restoring the broken Eikons, we are.

God as Trinity is inherently a communal God, and a God of loving, embracing, interpenetrating community. Humans are made in his image, being Eikons of God. We are made to be united to God in this triune community. God takes us up in him, but it is "us", because humans are not inherently individualistic. We are individuals, but individuals who naturally (by creation) want and are made for community. Sin comes in and makes us run from God, and become strangers with each other. Thus sin not only means a broken relationship with God, but broken relationships with each other. This human brokeness is portrayed all throoughout the Bible, beginning with Cain's murdering of Abel.

But "page after page" we find that God is restoring humans, in Christ, into a community of love. And into the dynamic, divine community of love, together. Though it is not always pretty, and often resisted. Yet in the midst of that, there can come the kind of community that a John Wesley could point to, for any skeptic, and say, "Come and see."

This all climaxes at the end, with God coming to earth to dwell forever with his people (Revelation 21). It is the climax of what has begun now in Jesus and the coming of the kingdom of God to earth through him. God is with us in the community of Jesus. This communion will be perfected so that there will no longer be any struggle to maintain this community by the Spirit. But we will all be confirmed together in a perfect unity that will grow all eternity, in this, the New Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God.

This gets "to the heart of the gospel: It is the work of God, in the context of a community, to restore us to union with God and communion for the good of others and the world."

Why is community important for us as humans? What keeps us from good community, as is evident all over the world- often from our homes, to the ends of the earth? How does that compare with the vision God gives us of the End (Revelation 21)? How do we see life in God- in individualistic terms primarily, or in communal terms? And how do we work this out in our lives?

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