So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them, male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1:27-28
This week the blog theme shifts from theology to rebuilding. This is a natural progression – a rebuilding of mission/ministry on a foundation of theological truth. “Rebuilding” seems to imply that something has been lost, destroyed, or taken away. After two years of pandemic, “rebuilding” is a relevant theme.
I am struck by two truths from Genesis 1. First, man and woman are made in the image of God. Second, man and woman are given a divine calling by God. A few weeks ago, our EFCC Leadership Catalyst Terry Kaufman talked about how God’s beautiful plan for humanity includes “work”! Part of what it means to be made in His image is that we are wired (and commanded!) to create, be fruitful, and tend (2:15) creation. We are gifted and called by God to “reign” over what He has created in a loving, caring way that causes it to flourish.
I am reminded that every human being – male and female has this gifting and calling from God. Further, as followers of Jesus, each of us has a calling to minister shalom and His grace in this world. Many Old Testament scholars see temple imagery in the Garden of Eden. Man and woman are expelled from the Garden/temple in Genesis 3, but God continues to find ways to personally minister grace in a sinful world (through the tabernacle, the temple and Jesus). Peter reminds us in I Peter 1 that we are a “living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” (I Peter 2:5). Peter further declares that we are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own people. As a result, we can show others the goodness of God (I Peter 2:9).
The calling on man and woman in Genesis 1-2, was a calling to all humans. It was a calling to live out the image of God in us and work – to produce beauty, fruitfulness, and shalom.
That universal call still stands – even in a creation that groans under the weight of sin (Romans 8). Moving forward, I want to suggest that the Church needs to rebuild on another divine calling. This calling is for every follower of Jesus (not just pastors and missionaries). This divine mandate is for each of us to be a royal priest who ministers the gracious, redemptive presence of God in this foreign land. Professional clergy and spectacular programs alone will not accomplish what God has called His Church to. This side of COVID we need to embrace the divine calling that puts feet to the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and makes it relevant to salvation, sanctification, and mission.
EFCC Executive Director