Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ – the things God has prepared for those who love him.
1 Corinthians 2:9
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
On the cusp of Easter, we bring this whole-life gospel series to a close which no human mind can fully conceive. We’ve retold salvation’s story from creation to new creation, charting a path to join in God’s culture making, celebrating the multifaceted good news animating our faith.
The joy that lies before us is a wedding banquet as the bridegroom and his church become one, unrepentant cynics are banished, and heaven and earth fuse for universal flourishing.
This consummation is the resolution of all narrative tensions as we enter culture and relish shalom as if for the first time. Beginning with Jesus’ resurrection, God is in the business of setting everything right and making all things new. All creation groans for liberation, to proclaim the story of cosmic homecoming. To leave our despair behind and discover life abundant when the world is conformed to God’s way as the way – where redeemed life joyfully welcomes the will of its sovereign Lord.
This is creative work: crafting a new world. By painting signs of this hope-filled future in our present malaise, God’s labour sets up a model for humanity to follow. We began as gardeners called to faithfully till the cultural ground; we end as artists fruitfully making culture, beckoning a mixed multitude to worship in the garden-city. This calling starts today. We open the day on our knees praying for inspiration, and finish the day with arms raised, applauding the fount of universal renewal: ‘Go, then, and mould culture for God’s glory!’
In a tired time, when our imaginations are locked down to largely recycle what has been, a resurrection community carrying the creative seeds of regeneration is truly good news!
How, then, is God calling us to anticipate praise in the new creation? Believing that one day every nation will bring their glory into the New Jerusalem (Isaiah 60:3; Revelation 21:24–26), I should already be on the lookout for all that is true, good, and beautiful, celebrating advance signs of God’s reign in the everyday: in my neighbour’s spontaneous singing, my colleague’s digital flourish, and my friend’s athletic prowess when we finally get out to play. Every good gift comes from above and will one day return to glorify our Maker. May our culture making in the here and now serve up a foretaste of this party. For this is the gospel at work in the consummation – a story to live and share this Lenten season.
Culture & Discipleship Director, LICC