Wednesday, October 18, 2006

embracing grace 7: a missional gospel

From Scot McKnight's Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us, we now look at the gospel as being missional in its focus and impact. And that focus and impact is on no less than the entire earth. Especially humans, but inclusive of all of God's creation. And holistically too, in the sense of redeeming and reconciling through Christ, all that is under the curse due to human sin, and broken in relation to God and his good will.

By the way, Paraclete Press has published a helpful companion guide to this book (as they did for The Jesus Creed), well worth having, especially if one leads a group or goes through the book with another person.

To obey "the Jesus Creed" involves addressing problems, then solving them- through Christ. The problem of "systemic evil" rears its ugly head everywhere. We must be those, in Jesus, who do not merely curse the darkness. But light candles of good will in good works. Churches of various traditions are doing just that. Impacting their communities and neighborhoods with the love of God in Christ. Being, as Christ's Body: his hands, feet and voice. We must begin where we're at. Looking, listening, learning and linking- to the needs of our neighbors, all around us. Helping those in need. Stemming the tide of systemic evil. And as we learn how to do it where we live, we can then help see it done in various places throughout the earth.

The impact of the gospel is to begin now, in this world. And all creation has its special place in God's redemption in Christ Jesus. And we in Christ are now agents of the message of this redemption and reconcilation. Of God's good will for the world.

What impact does the gospel have now, as you understand it? What various roles can be played by those in the Jesus community, in seeing this gospel take root and bear fruit in our world?

6 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

Though our mission is the entire earth, I always pray for wisdom regarding which piece of this great work is mine to fiddle with...

... too many people, and myself included sometimes, simply want to give up, because the work seems so beyond us, so big.

Erika Carney Haub said...

We were looking at two of the Servant Songs in Isaiah yesterday at a staff meeting, and we were struck by the assumption that there will be reason to "grow faint" and "be discouraged" (42:4) and likewise that there will be times where we will have reason to say: "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity (49:5."
I came home from this staff meeting to the news that three men in my neighborhood had bene killed by gang violence over the weekend.
Yet there remains the promise: a world bathed in light; the ends of the earth clothed in justice. And somehow we have a place in this mission of God..

Ted Gossard said...

L.L.,

Good thought and prayer.

It is so big, and truly beyond us. That's why we need to do our part, as you say here, and see ourselves as one part of one whole, which itself is one part of the bigger whole of the Body of Christ in the world. So we need to think in terms of, and work towards unity in mission. Working together, in spite of differences. But knowing we are really in this together, and really are one Body.

Thanks.

Ted Gossard said...

Erika,

Thanks for commenting, and for your thoughts.

It is good to know what we're up against, and that there can be plenty of hardship and disappointment along the way. But also it's good to know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. And that we're in the same ministry, through the Spirit, as the Servant of the Lord himself- Jesus- was in. And that he continues this work today, through us, his Body.

Good words on the justice to come. You work in a challenging area. Blessings on you and your family, and your work there.

Erika Carney Haub said...

"And that we're in the same ministry, through the Spirit, as the Servant of the Lord himself- Jesus- was in."
That's exactly what I was getting at, I guess. That when we labor in our ministries, the kinds of "results" we desire (well, I can speak for myself--the kinds of results I desire :) ) often do not reflect the path to crucifixion. It's just something I have to remind myself about over and over again.
Thanks for the encouragement!

Ted Gossard said...

Erika,

Excellent thought. And ties in well with my recent reading of Bonhoeffer.

I guess a cross-formed life and ministry as God's resurrection people in Jesus, is success in God's eyes. And surely that means much more than we can imagine, in more ways than we can imagine.

Thanks.