Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him… God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
COLOSSIANS 1:15-16, 19-20
As we enter Lent this year, what do you lament? After twelve months of lockdown with poverty looming, Brexit unfolding, and polarisation accelerating, there’s ash aplenty to cross your brow.
Silver linings aside, I grieve that amidst calamity, churches have sometimes turned inward in self-protection, forgetting the world, or turned outward in judgement, as just another political tribe.
Oftentimes we’re content to condemn, critique, copy, or consume ‘the world’, lacking vision and desire to keep and make culture. In part, this failure traces back to a narrow ‘gospel’ fixated on what we’re saved from, rather than what we’re saved for.
To be sure, the good news announces what God-in-Christ has done, saving us from sin. And yet, there’s more! We have a resurrection hope animating us for action, grounded in the story of salvation that stretches from creation to new creation, via the cross.
When we see ourselves within the whole biblical story, where Jesus is Lord of all, everything changes. We’re invited to join in God’s labour, the gospel working its way out on our local turf.
So, this Lent, let’s reimagine this whole-life gospel in six acts. Let’s humbly embrace the call to culture-making, truly loving the world Emmanuel came to save. Our God reigns! That’s good news, which really sings when we start at the story’s beginning…
Creation is the story of making culture. Literally everything was created in, through, and for the Son! God governs the world with order, separating the elements and providing a space for shalom. It’s then filled so the cosmos dances for joy as we discover the beauty of work and play with our loving Creator, each other, and the planet.
This is ground work: building foundations for life. From our first calling to cultivate the soil from which we’re formed, we’re commissioned to unlock the potential in all creation so every aspect of life can thrive. In establishing Eden, and uniting image-bearers to populate the earth and tend culture, God models our vocation. ‘What I’ve done in this greenhouse, you continue as stewards of a wonder-full planet. Go and make good work!’
How, then, is God forming us to garden together for the life of the world? How might we water what’s good, and weed what’s bad? Where can we weave the fabric of faithfulness on our frontlines? For this is the gospel at work in creation – a story to live and share this Lenten season.
Culture & Discipleship Director, LICC