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Archive for July, 2006

LICC – word for the week – Total inclusion

LICC – word for the week – Total inclusion

Jesus… looked towards heaven and prayed: Father the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. John 17:1,2

I suppose there are a fair number of us who, as children, stumbled on a very private and intimate moment between our parents. I remember feeling excluded from something important and feeling mystified as to what that something could be.

John’s record of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples includes that kind of moment. Jesus reveals something of the inconceivable depth of intimacy between Father and Son. But the disciples, in that ordinary room sitting around an ordinary table with him, have not stumbled on a moment from which they are excluded. They may be – and in the nature of things should be – mystified, but they are included.

After talking to them, teaching them and answering their questions, Jesus begins to pray, out loud, looking up, eyes open. This is a prayer of high-priestly intercession and a personal prayer of consecration. He invites his disciples into the intimacy of the eternal Trinity. He gives them a glimpse of glory, the glory of Father and Son from before creation and the glory of the cross, ‘for the hour has come’.

Isaiah understood something of the paradox of God, who is beyond our ‘benumbed conceiving’ yet who invites us into an intimate relationship with him. Chapter 55 begins ‘Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters… come to me.’ And continues ‘…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.’

We live in the ordinary realities of life in this world. But we also live in the eternal reality of the Kingdom of God. We often find that hard to grasp. But because God became man, the reality of his humanity, as he prays in the upper room, helps us to absorb the miracle that, here and now, we are included in his glory, included in the prayers of the Lord of heaven and earth, and given a place at his side for ever. That is where we are this Monday and every Monday until the end of time.

Margaret Killingray


and God smiles through the clouds…

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LICC – Workwise – Working for Eternity

Working for eternity?

Does our work have a future in eternity? This question often causes Christians to fall back into an unbiblical dualism, giving the impression that only ‘Christian work,’ particularly evangelism, ‘survives’ into the new creation.

I was shocked to hear a preacher refer to his previous job at a newspaper, saying, ‘What’s that got to do with the kingdom of God?’ Jesus taught that the reign of God is in the world, in the mustard seeds of truth, integrity, justice, compassion and all the values that we are to embody in precisely such places as the world of media, not merely for evangelistic dividends, but as salt and light in society.

For, in the end, what does God intend to redeem? Just souls? No, whole human persons – including all that they have become and accomplished in and through their work. We are not saved as body- less, work-less souls, but in every dimension of our identity as working human beings. Of course, work is also fallen. But work is part of what God redeems when he saves us in Christ. Just for ‘heaven?’ No, God’s mission is the redemption of the whole creation – indeed that is the scope of the reconciling work of the cross (Col. 1:20). ‘All things…on earth,’ says Paul. But all things on earth are not what they were in Genesis 1 and 2. The creation now bears the marks of human work over countless generations. And all of that is under God’s restoration order – not just for demolition and obliteration, but for purging and renewal.

Revelation pictures all the accomplishments of human work – and the resultant wealth, glory, and culture – being brought into the eternal city of God – the new creation. Purged of sin and evil, yes, but not dropped in some cosmic trash-can.

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it… The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful. (Rev 21:24-27).

This is a perspective that gives value to all honest work. The splendour of kings and the glory of nations are built on the work of countless millions of nameless ordinary people. That’s why I greet, thank and encourage the man who sweeps the streets around our house. His work matters to me, and I believe it matters to God and is a tiny part of what will one day be the splendour of the city of God.

Chris Wright
International Director
Langham Partnership International

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