Sunday, September 02, 2012

Mission, the end and indigenous dreamtime

I’m working my way through 2 Corinthians at the moment, reading it slowly, day by day, phrase by phrase, reflecting on the spirituality of missional leadership so evident in the words. As he struggles to plant communities of faith, be Christ-like in conflict, seek the inter-conciliar unity of the church. There are some gorgeous soundbites.

“Father of compassion” (1:3)

“we have conducted ourselves … in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity” (1:12)

On Saturday while speaking, I was asked about the relationship between mission and the end. If all things are to be reconciled in Christ, why bother now?

Another soundbite, which I’d read in 2 Corinthians that morning, sprung to mind.

“God’s promises are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Christ the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

God has promised a future which has an end in Christ. The church participates in that mission as an “Amen.” Our participation can be a fitting “Amen,” an expression of the self-giving, trusting, vulnerable, humble life that is Christ. Equally, it can be a poor “Amen”, a hubris that is simultaneously petulant, conflicted and shallow.

Mission is our Amen to God’s promised Yes.

At this point we are messing with time, and with our participation in time.

Which perhaps links with a perspective offered by an indigenous colleague a few weeks ago. Talking about the Spirit in global cultures, he noted that the Aboriginal dreamtime stories all share a similarity. They lack an end. They create a continuous now, which provides for him a wonderful beginning, but no promise of resolution. This has caused him to find comfort in the Christian story.

Their is an assurance that God is the beginning, the dreamtime. And that God is in the end, in the compassion of Christ, who is the promise that is the final “Yes.”

Posted by steve at 09:29 PM

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