Friday, May 13, 2011

God's Dream for the World.

Here are a few random thoughts about the connection between the kingdom of God and shalom. I believe that God has a dream for this world that he invites us to join him in bringing to fulfillment.

“Mission is the mother of theology.” David Bosch – Transforming Mission p.16

“God is the ‘God who acts.’ It may be more accurate to refer to the Bible as the Acts of God rather than call it the Word of God.” Bosch p. 17

“What amazes one again and again is the inclusiveness of Jesus’ mission. It embraces both the poor and the rich, both the oppressed and the oppressor, both the sinners and the devout. His mission is one of dissolving alienation and breaking down walls of hostility, of crossing boundaries between individuals and groups. Bosch p. 28

“The followers of Jesus do not define their identity in terms of opposition to outsiders.” Bosch p.29

“Their proclamation knows nothing of coercion. It always remains an invitation.” “Jesus consistently challenged the attitude, practices, and structures which tended arbitrarily to exclude certain categories of people from the Jewish community.” Bosch p. 31 -

I wonder who we’re excluding?

“Salvation in Christ is salvation in the context of human society en route to a whole & healed world.” Bosch p. 399 -

The mission of God is to restore all of creation to wholeness.

Jesus came preaching & demonstrating the good news of the kingdom. (Matthew 4:17 & 23, 6:9-13, 6:33)

The kingdom is often described as the reign of God.

“The reign of God is undoubtedly central to Jesus’ entire ministry. It is, likewise central to his understanding of his own mission.” Bosch p. 31

“God’s reign is not understood as exclusively future but as both future and already present.” The future has invaded the present.” Bosch p. 32

Jesus taught us to pray this: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, they kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

“God’s reign arrives wherever Jesus overcomes the power of evil. Then, as it does now, evil took many forms: pain, sickness, death, demon-possession, person sin & immorality, the loveless self-righteousness of those who claim to know God, the maintaining of special class privileges, the brokenness of human relationships. Bosch p. 33

Mortimer Arias says that the mission of God is “…to denounce anything that opposes God’s purpose for humanity, and to announce and incarnate the reign of God in our troubled world.” Mortimer Arias – Announcing the Reign of God

“The kingdom of God, announced by Jesus, is multidimensional and all-encompassing. It is both a present and a future reality. It has to do with each individual creature and with the whole of society.” It embraces all dimensions of human life: physical, spiritual, personal and interpersonal, communal and societal, historical and eternal. And it encompasses all human relationships – with the neighbor, with nature, and with God.” Arias P. xv

“Jesus proclaimed the reign of God and sent out his disciples to the same. But that is not all. His mission was not only a matter of words, and neither is ours.” “What is new is that in Jesus the kingdom is present.” “In the New Testament we are dealing not just with the proclamation of the kingdom but also with the presence of the kingdom.” Leslie Newbigin – The Open Secret- P. 40

Jesus is the living incarnation of the kingdom of God.

“The simplest and most comprehensive way of stating the content of the commission given to the church is therefore to be found in Jesus’ initial word: “Peace be with you.” Peace, shalom, the all-embracing blessing of the God of Israel – this is what the presence of the kingdom is. The church is a movement launched into the life of the world to bear in its won life God’s gift of peace for the life of the world. It is sent, therefore, not only to proclaim the kingdom but to bear in its own life the presence of the kingdom.” Newbigin p. 48

“The kingdom of God, in short compass, is the society in which the will of God is established to transform all of life. The kingdom of God is more than what God is doing ‘within you’ and more than God’s personal ‘dynamic presence’; it is what God is doing in this world through the community of faith for the redemptive plans of God – including what God is doing in you and me. It transforms relationships with God, with self, with others, and with the world.” Scot McKnight – A Community Called Atonement - p. 9

“We will argue here that atonement is only understood when it is understood as the restoration of humans – in all directions – so that they form a society (the ecclesia, the church) wherein God’s will is lived out and given freedom to transform all of life.” McKnight p.9

“In contrast, the kingdom that Jesus portrays exercises its power not in redemptive violence but in courageous, self-giving love, and its goal is not victory on its own terms but rather peace on God’s terms. That peace – that shalom – means far more than an end to conflict; it evokes a balanced and integrated ‘life to the full’. Brian McLaren – The Secret Message of Jesus – p. 150

We describe God’s kingdom in terms of God’s dreams coming true for this earth, of God’s justice & peace replacing earth’s injustice & disharmony.” Brian McLaren - The Secret Message of Jesus.

“Thus there is, in Jesus’ ministry, no tension between saving from sin and saving from physical ailment, between the spiritual and the social.” Bosch p. 33

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