Friday, 21 November 2014

Ephesians 4:1-7 ignored or some context to 1 Cor 13:12

We all live unavoidably within a particular socioeconomic and cultural framework that influences the way we think about everything, including ourselves. As with all frameworks it limits our ability to go outside and to understand fully another context, another framework, another view.

Although there is a danger to oversimplify the issues, we basically deal with two frameworks who have little if anything in common although they appear to be very similar in outlook. The one framework is that of creation, we are created and accountable individually and collectively to the creator with regard to the intended purpose of us and the wider creation. The other is that of evolution where the individual is accountable to the collect while the collect is accountable to the individual as well. Within the latter frameworks there are myriads and myriads of sub-frameworks often defined by age, gender, race, culture, occupation, education, class as well as possession and finances.

But even within the first framework where someone else but us matters, God, we have many sub-frameworks. And so it is not uncommon that we don't see eye to eye on many issues. Part of the many differences is that we read Scripture from our own vantage point, filtered by our own experiences and upbringing. But I see Scripture affirming a foundational reality that always accompanies a comprehensive belief and application in the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is; When God makes us one with Christ, He also makes us one with each other." God has removed the barriers of separation resulting from sin and consequently erected by society. The Good News is that people who would remain separated in any other sphere of society are brought together in the body of Christ, the church. The church exemplifies a radically different social order because it integrates people who are very unlike one another. The humiliating and divisive worldly notions of class, race, economics, and gender however continues to prove to be a painful source of fragmentation, and alienation within the body of Christ. As far as I understand God's word to us, the church is an all-- . . . community, yet we continue to organize ourselves around distinctive characteristics such as origin rather than the common truth that we once were dead in our sins. All this is a fundamental failure to comprehend the extend, the depth and width of the Gospel. 

And therefore let me suggest to us that we are to be mission minded in everything we do. That begins with a broken heart for the lost and a driving desire to help them to understand God's liberating truth. Of which one component is that Jesus not only calls us to himself; he also calls us to break with everything, every value, every ambition, every tradition, every thought, every preference that conflicts with him being uncontested Lord in our lives. That means that we need to look at things the way they are, in the context of a broken world and when things fall short of God's previously very good creation we need to challenge them. We need to be in a dissonant relationship to the world without isolating us from it or from one another. And rather than demonstrating our fracturedness we need to demonstrate reconciliation through the cross otherwise we admitting that the gospel is powerless to overcome the power of sin, powerless to join together what we in our sinful stage had separated.

One goal of the church is to positively demonstrate that God had something different in mind when he originally created order. The fellowship of God's people here and now are the "show-homes," we are intended to be his demonstration of what it means to be fully reconciled to him and one another without any dissonant distinctions through gender, age, culture, race, class, personalities or abilities.

The greatest tragedy of separating the things that God intended to be together is not so much that we see less of each other but that in separating not just from the world but also from each other we see less of God. Each person, and therefore each culture, race, class and gender will help to reveal a part of God that you and I without the other cannot see on his own.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known 1 Cor 13:12.


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