Wednesday, 7 January 2009
The Cross-Stitch Church - The Great Artist
Of all the great images of God in the Scriptures, in poetry or in fiction the one that appeals to me most at the moment is of God as the Great Artist. I love CS Lewis' portrayal of God as Aslan with all that that comes to mean for the Narnia parables, i love the Old Testament pictures of God as the 'Ancient of Days' or 'Fountain of Life' but at the moment the idea of God as the Great Artist is really appealing to me - maybe because much of my thinking is around the idea of the church as a peice of creative expression.
Following on with that theme, if the gauze is the world, the church the beautifully expressive design within that world or the thread, the needle the church leaders who pull the thread into position then there can be no other place to go than to view God as the designer par excellence - the Great Artist.
I have hope for the church, not based on it's beauty, not based even on its people (you should see some of the one's i have to deal with!!). My hope for the church is based in my hope and belief in a God who is creative, a God who loves to design, a God who loves to weave exiting and interesting patterns all over the place therefore reflecting His own image of beauty and dynamism. My hope for the church rests soley in my hope in the Great Designer. In the metaphor of the church as a peice of cross-stitch i believe the arist who holds the needle, who weaves the pattern onto the gauze is the the Ancient of Days, the Fountain of Life, the Living God mysteriously and wonderfully Three wrapped up in One.
Perhaps though, even though i am blantantly stating the obvious in what's written above, it serves as a challenge to each of us who are followers of Jesus and therefore a part of the church. If God is weaving a design, do i trust the future of the church to Him or continue to fret? If God is the Great Designer, do i as a church leader need to continue to run around in a mad panic subconsciously believing that the whole future and ministry of the church rests on me or do i relax and try to let the design unfold before my very eyes? If God is stitching the pattern what is it to be?
I guess its the last question - 'what is God doing?' that consumes so much of our thinking. Surely all of us in ministry - which means all followers of Jesus - have the task not of trying to drum up some action for God to bless, but to see where He is already at work, weaving His expressive and wonderful design and attempting to find ways to be a part of that. The question still remains though 'what is God doing?'. Again, i remind myself (even if no-one cares!) that i started this blog to attempt to try and unravel for myself some of my thinking about the church. Is the church of Jesus Christ in its traditional western form coming to an end? Is God doing a new thing? I hope to explore that more and more in the days and weeks to come. If you have an answer, me and i guess thousands of other church leaders would love to hear it.