This week Graeme continued to draw pictures of what ‘the incarnational community’ could/should look on the canvass of the word of God. Re-visiting briefly the three (3) scriptures that he read at the end of week 3 (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 2:1-4; Ephesians 3), Graeme reflected on the ‘US’ in Genesis 1:26 when God made human beings and then he made this assertion by way of a summary statement.
‘The incarnational community existed before creation (the ‘perichoresis’ or inner life of God in 3 persons. Each are present in the others yet distinct). God extended his hand and invited human beings to the divine dance when he created them, and the incarnational community operated in the garden until that fellowship was broken by humans. The Father God was never idol in his desire for this fellowship to be restored and as such initiated a number of processes designed to create possibilities for humans to re-engage ‘the divine dance’. Ultimately, God sent his son, (John 1) indeed the ‘logos or living written word of God who was and is and is to come’ became flesh (incarnate) AND DWELT among us ….. so you and I could clearly see what the human version of the essence of God would look like if it LIVED ON THE EARTH, and God IN Christ, extended his hand to invite us BACK into the ‘divine dance’. This introduced a fundamentally first and last way for us to relate with God that had not been available to us before Jesus. This relationship doesn’t just have or express love – IT IS LOVE! (1 John 4 emphasises this) ‘
Graeme suggested that even though sin had been an issue in the garden, it could NO LONGER KEEP US from the divine dance because God THROUGH Christ had dealt with this head on. (2 Cor. 5:20-21). This is the context for you and me being ‘the righteousness of God’ so God not only invites us to the dance, he offers us all we need to fully enter into the dance. The only question that remains is will we yield to God’s offer?
Finally, Graeme described the incarnational community as being like an embassy. As ambassadors, We ARE what we represent. God makes His appeal TO THE WORLD, THROUGH THE CHURCH and the church IS Jesus in the world. When you enter the secure area of any country’s embassy you are actually IN THAT COUNTRY. When our neighbours engage with the church, they should at the very least be seeing Jesus BUT if we have yielded to the divine dance and have become as though God incarnate (I.e. Christ as Head and us as His body) in the world, then we should be the clearest picture and the truest access point to all that the Father God offers IN Christ.
Pray reflectively on this thought. “Be incarnational; that is, be present, in love, without judgment.” Consider each of these aspects and instead of assuming that you know what is meant by each phrase, pray and seek more revelation. Maybe make a list of pseudonyms for each aspect. Once you have done this, look over what you have had revealed to you, including the pseudonyms, and write down a few practical things that emerge, things you could actually make goals for yourself in your dealings with your family, neighbours and other relationships God has shown favour to you for.
If you can find time and one or two other people, grab a cuppa together, share what God has revealed then discuss how you might be able to do some of this practical stuff beyond yourself, as a group, or in the larger body of the church.
Extra Individual Response or Group Questions
- Read the creation account again in Genesis 1:26-31. Have you ever noticed that God says “Let US make man in OUR image” before? This is how it was in the beginning and God’s Primary Purpose is to restore this fellowship. Reflect on the implications of this for your daily walk.
- God knows all too well why the incarnational community is so important. We sense the longing of knowing others and being known, loving others and being loved, understanding others and being understood. We know the inner healing it does when we feel loved, known, understood and accepted in the midst of our messy lives. What do you think about the idea that Graeme shared, that this could be our legacy and what the desperate world around us needs to not only SEE but be able to ACCESS. Discuss
- Read John 12: 44-50 again prayerfully. Does the idea that God might have set judgement aside so that Jesus could enter people’s stories in order to save them help you in your understanding and response to being an ambassador of Christ or does the idea makes things harder? Write down your thoughts. Share them and pray for each other.
Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:18; John 1; 1 John 4; 2 Corinthians 5:11 – 6:2; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; John 14:8-14; John 12:44-50