“Mission is not merely an activity of the church. Rather, mission is the result of God’s initiative, rooted in God’s purpose, to restore and heal creation. “Mission” means “sending,” and it is the central biblical theme describing the purpose of God’s action in human history. God’s mission began with the call of Israel to receive God’s blessings in order to be a blessing to the nations. God’s mission unfolded in the history of God’s people across the centuries recorded in Scripture, and it reached its revelatory climax in the incarnation of God’s work of salvation in Jesus ministering, crucified, and resurrected. God’s mission continued then in the sending of the Spirit to call forth and empower the church as the witness to God’s good news in Jesus Christ. It continues today in the worldwide witness of churches in every culture to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it moves toward the promised consummation of God’s salvation in the final day.”
Darrell Guder, Missional Church
God’s initiative to restore and heal creation starts with relationship. At the center of the universe is a relationship. It is the nature of the triune God, and the essence of the created order. It is out of this relationship that we were created. The vision for God’s created world is shalom or peace - a deep authentic connection between humanity and the triune God and as a result, a deep authentic connection with each other, with self, and with the entire creation. Shalom is peace, wholeness, freedom, truth, life, and beauty. Brokenness in any of these relationships disrupts and destroys this shalom; the intended vision of creation.
God’s action in human history is the restoration and healing of broken relationships. God initiated this action by coming toward, being near, and living in the midst of humanity. It is God’s deepest desire to be in relationship and to be a living presence among his people. As God dwelt among his people on the cover of the ark, in the tabernacle and in the temple, God pulled humanity toward a deeper relationship; a relationship of love and trust.
The revelatory climax of restoration and healing is complete in Jesus. The one who saw the kingdom, taught about it, died for it, and lived it in the midst of a real time and a real place. Jesus entered in the cracks and crevices of a society, deeply connected with people, and lived out God’s reality and vision for his created world: forgiveness and compassion, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. In Jesus we see what humanity was intended to be.
You see, God is eternally and tirelessly bringing forth the peace, wholeness, freedom, truth, life, and beauty that was intended for creation from the beginning. Restoration and healing in the midst of whatever darkness this world encounters is a reality. God entered history in a personal way and made it unmistakably clear that he is on our side, doing everything possible to make things right. It is all presented and worked out in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
And now, the Holy Spirit continues this mission of restoration and healing in the life of every believer.
On Pentecost, God’s presence moved out of the temple (or house) into a new house. The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of God’s promise of his personal empowering presence among his people. We are individually and collectively the house of the Holy Spirit and this presence personally and collectively dwells in us.
“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a divine center, a soothing Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-worn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself…it is the Shekinah of the soul, the Presence in the midst. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly submitting ourselves body and soul, utterly and completely to the Light within is the beginning of true life.” (Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion)
"God’s intended home is our heart, and it is meeting God in the depths of our soul that transforms us from the inside out." (The Gift of Being Yourself, David Benner)
This subterranean sanctuary in our soul is the chosen dwelling place of our God. It is an omnipresent mystery. The Holy Spirit was sent to dwell in us and speak to us. As a result, we have the capacity to have immediate relationship with the Trinity. The capacity—through the power of the Spirit—to know Christ, to meet Christ, to hear Christ and to feel the immense love, goodness, and force of his presence. In knowing Christ, we know the Father.
God’s intended home is in our heart, and it is meeting God in the depths of our soul that transforms us from the inside out. The restoration and healing of broken relationships is a dynamic force at the heart of the universe and it starts in our heart as we connect and find our true home in the midst of the presence of the Trinity. As a result, all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—are pulled together and made whole. God pulls our lives together, not impersonally from space, but with us…where we are, as we are found.
Participation in the mission of restoration and healing is discovering our true home. As restoration and healing happen in our life, we are empowered to sit at the table with new friends, like and unlike us—rich and poor, old and young, various ethnicities, nationalities, divergent political beliefs, varying world views—to engage and listen, to do the hard work of understanding, and to treat others as fellow well-loved children of God.
God's vision for his created world becomes a reality as more and more lives are pulled together and then pulled together with one another on mission. It is through transformed lives that God puts the world to right.