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Culture Making with God | The Gospel in Church

‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. … You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

Acts 1:4b–5, 8

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:19–21

This Lent, we’ve lamented our failed attempts at culture making. By retelling the Bible’s story, this labyrinthine journey led us into Jerusalem, where Christ’s restoring work conquered Satan and saved us from sin. But don’t stop there! For with resurrection power, we’re baptised in the Holy Spirit and sent out on mission together as Jesus’ hands and feet, a portable temple refreshing the wastelands. No solo trek, this is the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world starting right where you stand.

The church is the story of embracing culture. Through the Spirit, God began the intensive therapy of healing the body and soul of every believer, with holy behaviour and life-giving fruit flowing from a heart of love. In turn, disciples were sent together to bring healing to the world, becoming the beating centre of a transformed society. When gathered, we re-member who we’re called to be as Christ’s body. When scattered, we graciously move in God’s power to rebuild the ancient ruins (Isaiah 61:4), right where we live, learn, labour, shop, and play.

This is healing work: binding community back together. By inspiring the founding of hospitals and schools; catalysing courage to protect the vulnerable; venturing capital to create jobs; being faith-full citizens; and empowering the reconstruction of communities once segregated, forging them into a diverse family – in all these ways and more, the Holy Spirit’s acts establish a model for humanity to follow. We’re each called to reconcile, starting with radical hospitality in our homes. To go from that upper room of waiting on the Helper, heading out as ambassadors to exhibit supernatural compassion in every endeavour, that all may be made well: ‘Go and minister grace and love!’

In a re-tribalised society where kindness is uncommon, a Spirit-filled community gifted to cross borders, heal rifts, and help friendship thrive in the fissures is truly good news!

How, then, is God calling us to foster wholeness in our everyday lives? Our consistent witness and integrity invite trust for adversaries to unite across dividing lines. So where is there a schism on your frontline? Which tongue do adversaries speak, and how might heaven have you translate ‘peace’? What might it look like to seek shalom with the angry neighbour over the fence, or the frustrated colleague in an adjacent cubicle, learning together how to get along? For this is the gospel at work in the church – a story to live and share this Lenten season.

Dave Benson
Culture & Discipleship Director, LICC

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