Week 3 Notes

We are the crown of God’s creation.

We are subcreators. We use God’s materials to create.

We’re image bearers.

Analogy of kings having artists create statues to remind people of the king’s provision to those people. Reminding people.

We care for the broken.. care for issues of injustice.

We create in ways that tell the salvation story.

We allow him to form us through this.

“Gathered worship” vs “W”orship. Experiencing this stuff individually, then that affecting how we worship when gathered.

“Worship is all about God.” I’ve said these words in more seminars and conferences than I can count, over the course of twenty years. Now, I’ve come to believe that though I was well-meaning, that phrase – on many levels – is incorrect.

God is not the creation, and we are not God. Yet we dwell in a divinely gifted mutuality, symbiotically
sharing in this fascinating creation that includes heaven where God dwells, and earth, where we dwell,
interlocking and intermingling in this grand historic enterprise we call life.

When we think about ourselves, we must think about ourselves in relation to other people – our
community. Our identity is meant to be found, nurtured and celebrated within the place of
community. Our identity does not exist on its own, we are designed to live in context, among a
people, in a world of shared stories and life. For good or for ill, the heaven-and-earth creatures
noted above guide us as to our person-ality, and ultimately were are given to one another to both
give and receive from the other’s uniqueness.

The Hebrew word for “image” in the first passage is the word, tselem, a Hebrew word with very limited
usage in the Old Testament. The word is a word used to speak of children, and their similarity in
personhood to a parent.

If God is the King of the universe, then we who have his breath are of royal and governmental
origin. We too, have the capacity to lead and order great systems, and to reflect love, goodness and
wisdom into that which we lead.

In the ancient world, it was not uncommon for ancient Kings and Queens to declare their authority
over conquered lands by setting up images of themselves in those lands. When a subject would
look at the image, they knew that they were under both the authority, and the protection, of that
ruler.

Human Beings As CommunityBuilders

The kinds of communities that we are taught to build by Jesus in the New Testament, idealistic as it sounds, are those kinds of communities where love and grace is felt in the air and warms the chilled soul in need of thaw.

For the Celtic Christians, who held a very strong sense of the Trinitarian basis for human
community, they modeled their pattern of welcoming people into the family of faith by first
offering them 1) belonging, then welcoming them to 2) behave as years of friendship with the
community of saints and the presence of the Holy Spirit opened the way for real change, and then
finally welcoming them to 3) believe – if they ever so chose!

Christians, as healthy CommunityBuilders, are called to become the supreme re-humanizers of
every age, purging human hearts of the toxic effects of the dehumanizing atmospheres in which
we live – with the power of love. Whether we are CommunityBuilders in our homes, on our
streets, in our cities or in our churches, we are acting in accord with our nature as human beings –
and in accord with the heart of God – when we bring people together.

Our job as human beings is not to save, as though we as Christians could accomplish the work that
only God can do to rescue the whole of humanity from its plight (though many Christians have
seen this as their primary co-mission with Christ throughout history). Rather, our primary mission
is to tell the story of salvation, from original creation, to fall from relationship, to restoration
through cross and resurrection, to complete and universal new creation.

Christians tell the story of an age to come, of a present and future move of God that is righting all
that is wrong in this world. We tell the story of a day when the world will be put to rights, when
justice will be done, when the human family will understand how dear and priceless we are to one
another.

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