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Spring Harvest: Church Actually Day 3 »« Spring Harvest: more than just the Big Top

Spring Harvest: Church Actually Day 2

Over the next few weeks I want to blog some of my notes the four morning teaching sessions at Spring Harvest where I went between the Think zone and the Lead zone.

Day 1 was travelling and settling in. On Day 2 I went to the Think zone led by Graham Cray of Fresh Expressions – a network involved in forming churches primarily for those who are not yet part of any church and Ruth Valerio of the environmental agency A Rocha.

Shining as lights

The theme of the week was the Church. Graham Cray commented that of the hundred plus metaphors in the Bible for church we will look at just four – shining like lights, the community of the Holy Spirit, the body and the bride. He then pointing out that the Greek word Ekklesia was in common usage before it was used by Christians to refer to the church. An Ekklessia was democratic assembly of citizens that begin with prayers and sacrifice. The Hebrew word Qahal translated in Septuagint as Ekklessia referred to the Hebrew people as a “called people”.

A Missional community

In this first session Graham Cray looked at the image of the church as shining like lights by examining the doctrine of the church as a missional community.  The term ‘missional’ was coined by a group of theologians in response to Leslie Newbigin twenty years ago. It refers to part of the essential to nature of church which is authentic engagement with our culture. The Church of Scotland report used the term ‘church without walls’. Graham Cray quoted Tim Dearborne “the church of God does not have a mission – the God of mission has a church”

One manifestation of the Kingdom

Ruth Valerio then looked at theKingdomofGodseeing Jesus acts as proleptic collapsing the future into the present.  She pointed out that we often get kingdom theology just from Isaiah and Daniel, but Psalms in its creational theology shows us the kingdom related to the cosmos not just to humans. Similarly in the Lord’s Prayer we pray for the kingdom to come on earth which has a wider meaning than just in the lives of humans.  She quoted Lesley Newbigin who described the church as “manifesting and enjoying already in the midst of the messianic tribulations a genuine foretaste of the peace and joy of God’s reign”.

The image of a prism

A key image that was explored during the week was that of a prism. It was explained how as God’s grace shines through the prism of the church it is refracted into many gifts and vocations. A useful comment about vocation was that it is what God has focused your life on. This may be directed through your job or be tangential to your job. The church needs to involve cultivation – enabling people to find their gifts and vocation.

May 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm
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