Friday, March 2, 2012

The Hands of God: Missional Trinity in Action

Years ago, I took a class from Eugene Peterson called Spiritual Theology. At one point he said, "The most spiritual thing to do might be simply changing your wife's tire on her car." I've never forgotten his words. In his lectures, he had a way of tearing down the pomp and circumstance of ambitious dreams and root life in God in the reality of everyday life.

Irenaeus of Lyon was a church leader from the second century who spoke of the Father's two hands, the Son and the Spirit, as the mediating presence of God with us. The Bible speaks of the Son as the Word of God and the Spirit as the Wisdom of God. But it is interesting to me how the Son and the Spirit have come and continue to come not in abstract ways, which is how we usually think of word and wisdom. Instead they come through faithful presence, as hands extended in agape love from the Father.

I think of the story of John 13 where Jesus washed the feet. I think of the fruit of the Spirit with agape listed first. I think about the two great chapters on the gifts of the Spirit, 1 Cor 12 and 14, and the fact that the great love chapter is sandwiched right in the middle. The love of God comes in active presence, the hands of the Father, not as concepts, sermons, and books alone.

The mission of God is to reveal the heart of God's love, the love that he has been from all eternity, the overflowing, self-giving fountain of abundant life that has no beginning or no end.

The question for us today is how we participate with the extended arms of God to the world. For some, it will be in great things, radical acts that make for wonderful testimonies, like adopting a child, inviting a homeless family to live with you, or addressing an obvious social need. But for most of us, it will come in much simpler things, things like washing feet. Maybe for you it's changing a diaper and singing over your child. Maybe it's being a blessing to your spouse who has had an incredibly stress-filled week. Maybe it's a conversation over the fence with a neighbor. Maybe it's going for a walk with a friend who needs your support. If we are not faithful to extend God's hands of love in the small things, how can we be faithful to do so in that which seems bigger?

No comments: