Vol 3:31 Mission in the Midst of Life

As we come to the season of Advent, I realize celebrating Jesus’ coming and anticipating his return, has everything to do with embracing our humanity, embracing the gift of life we receive from God. Living our lives in relationship with God has very little to do with escaping this earth, waiting to be taken to heaven – especially if we understand that the new heaven and new earth are not away from here, but here on earth. God in making all things new embraces our existence on earth.

So, participating with God in mission, begins with being embraced by God – from creation, through God being with us as expressed through God’s Story, and most fully in God taking on our humanity in the person of Jesus. Jesus is taking on our humanity is an embracing of our lives in the midst of our daily comings and goings, daily struggles, daily mundaneness, daily celebrations – all that is part of our lives. God’s mission embraces us in the midst of our lives – and we are called to participate with God in God’s mission in the midst of the ordinariness of our lives.

We engage in mission not so that someday we can be done with this place, but we engage in mission so that we can witness new creation, to rediscover our calling to be stewards of this earth, to rediscover community through healed and made-whole relationships, to embrace the fullness of our humanity in communion with God. Engaging in mission is indeed an aspect of journeying with God in being restored, reconciled, and recreated in our humanity – so that we may be human with one another.

Some who believe that when God makes all things new, when Jesus comes again, we will leave our earthly residence behind in order to be with God in heaven. However, if as Revelation reveals that God takes up residence on earth (cf. Revelation 21), then earth becomes the context where God’s will is being done – heaven is situated on earth. I believe God always intended such a reality for human beings. In our sinfulness, we not only turned our back on God, but also turned our backs on creation, on relationships, on our calling to steward this earth in interconnected relationships. In our being restored to our humanity – through Christ Jesus, we are restored to being in communion with God, reconnected to creation, reconciled and reconnected in communion with one another, and restored to our practice of stewardship.

Mission, then, is not some extracurricular activity, or even some unique kind of calling – being involved in mission with God is all about embracing our calling to be human beings in relationship with God – to which we invite others to discover this same reality. It seems to me that God taking on our humanity in Christ Jesus was a resounding YES to what it is to be human – Jesus came not to show us how to escape our humanity, but rather, how to embrace it and surrender our ways so that we might taste of the abundant life of God (cf. John 10:10) within our humanity. God’s engagement in mission is for us to become who we are created to be – and our participation with God in God’s mission is all about being recreated into the fullness of our humanity and helping others see what God is doing within them.

So, this Advent season, as we celebrate Jesus’ coming and anticipate his coming again, let us celebrate the anticipation of our being made complete as human beings restored to communion with God and one another.

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iMissional.org | Roland Kuhl