We spent time remembering that our story begins with Creation, with God's good intent for His entire creation, and us a part of it. This means we are all created in the likeness of God, with a spark of His goodness within each of us. So when we think of others, we would do well to remember and recognize the image of God in them. This means we do not talk about us and them - but understand we are all created in God's image and are all in need of His restoration and healing of the cracked places in our life. Understanding creation also means that all the earth matters to God, not merely our souls. So God is deeply invested in the health of the earth, in the way we care for the world and relate to His creation. So how we treat our world, our city, our neighbor all matter in God's economy.
God reached out to us in a most real, graphic way... He became one of us. Jesus voluntarily gave up His divinity and all that was associated with being God to walk in our neighborhood.
This says something quite stunning about God - about the depth of His love and commitment to us and His willingness to reach out to us. It also says something amazing about the world - that God was willing to live in the very ecosystem He created. He was willing to live life on our terms in a world that He created as good. So every street He walked redeems the streets we walk, every meal He ate with friends redeems our shared meals... and what we feel He also felt during his tenure here on earth. He gets what it is, what it feels like, to be human in this place.
But the Incarnation (when God became human or took on a physical body) is also a model for how we encounter others. We must follow Jesus not only in the direction He is going, but in the manner that He travels. So these are the hallmarks of His incarnational example: presence, proximity, powerlessness and proclamation. Moses made a great observation... if he modeled all these things in his community he would not be successful or effective in any way. Jesus must have had something more... So together we recognized that Jesus also has pneuma, or the Spirit of God, filling Him and leading Him. And, so do we!
So God is not eager to abandon His creation - He created it as good and He even came and walked earth Himself. He is invested here! But we can all see that there are many broken people (we among them), broken communities, broken systems and institutions that are in need of repair. There are parts of our ecosystem hemorrhaging and in need of restoration to God's creation goodness. So we are now invited to be part of God's re-creation enterprise here on earth. So this means it is more than souls we care about. It is all of God's creation - people certainly, but also cities and ecosystems and corporate entities. All are in need of restoration to God's original design or re-creation. We are part of this - we help usher in re-creation or new creation with our own lives. We become new creations and we engage in this work of re-creation!
So this was my humble summary of the content for this conversation... but to miss out on the lively exchange among our Ugandan friends is to miss out on the most engaging part! They offered great insight, sharp questions and good challenges to this understanding of God's Story.