Friday, August 6, 2010

When the Mission of God becomes our heartbeat

In the epilogue to his lengthy but stellar book, The Mission of God, Christopher J.H. Wright posits what happens when we come to see “the mission of God as the very heartbeat of all reality, all creation, all history and all that yet lies ahead of us”:

  • We ask, “Where does God fit into the story of my life?” when the real question is where does my little life fit into this great story of God’s mission.
  • We want to be driven by a purpose that has been tailored just right for our own individual lives (which is of course infinitely preferable to living aimlessly), when we should be seeing the purpose of all life, including our own, wrapped up in the great mission of God for the whole of creation.
  • We talk about the problems of “applying the Bible to our lives,” which often means modifying the Bible somewhat adjectivally to fit into the assumed “reality” of the life we live “in the real world.”  What would it mean to apply our lives to the Bible instead, assuming the Bible to be the reality—the real story—to which we are called to conform ourselves.
  • We wrestle with the question of how we can “make the gospel relevant to the world” (again, at least that is clearly preferable to treating it as irrelevant).  But in this Story, God is about the business of transforming the world to fit the shape of the gospel.
  • We wonder whether and how the care of creation, for example, might fit into our concept and practice of mission, when this Story challenges us to ask whether our lives, lived on God’s earth and under God’s gaze, are aligned with, or horrendously misaligned with, God’s mission that stretches from creation to cosmic transformation and the arrival of a new heaven and new earth. 
  • We argue about what can legitimately be included in the mission God expects from the church, when we should ask what kind of church God expects for his mission in all its comprehensive fullness. 
  • I may wonder what kind of mission God has for me, when I should ask what kind of me God wants for his mission.

I hope you read through and thought about all of those.  If you just skimmed through make sure you at least read the last two. 

I also would hope that you would consider purchasing this book and plodding through it.  Of all that I have read within the past year this book may have shaped my worldview more than any other that I have read.  It is 28.00 and a little over 500 pages long but it is a very fun read even still.  There is a shorter book (that I have not read) that you can buy for 10.88.

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