We find ourselves involved in an unfolding narrative. First and foremost, this story tells of a journey centered in Christ. In Christ, we discover God: incarnational, missional, and relational. In Christ, we discover the full intentions for humanity. In Christ, we discover the true Israel leading a new, full Exodus of liberation, freedom, and sacrifice. In Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, we discover the One to imitate, participate, and inundate for the sake of others.
Second, we find ourselves acting upon and searching for the Imago Dei. To be like Christ is to join him in his work of revealing the image of God in others. For the Galilean fishermen, Mary Magalene’s, Nicodemuses, and Gerasene demoniacs this was Jesus: Lord, Savior, and image of God unleasher. We too, as disciples of Jesus, share, by the grace, mercy, and Spirit–empowerment of God, in this revelation ministry.
Finally, our Spirit–initiated and sustained quest after Christ for the sake of others continues because we are sent. Father sends himself. Father sends Christ. Christ sends Spirit. Spirit sends us, his church. God sends. God, first and ultimate missionary, sends.
Therefore, this story makes four primary demands upon us. First, follow Jesus. In order to be with the One we love and become like him, we must follow him. If we are to invite or expect anyone else to follow us as we follow Christ, we must be good followers.
Second, with joyful urgency and perseverance, anticipate and propagate the image of God in our neighbors. Who are our neighbors? All in whom the image of God resides. Christ the King reigns, and we’ve been given the privilege of joining him in awakening others into his kingdom as we follow the spirit.
Third, pray. We cannot assume or underestimate this demand. If God is the ultimate missionary and loving sender of himself, the Messiah, the Spirit, and the church, then we must constantly be with him seeking that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Never forget: this is his project.
Finally, go…into the fringes. The image of God is present within the poor, fragile suburban widow. The image of God is present within the inconsolable and uncontrollable raging child. The image of God is present in the young married couple denying their neighborhood, kids, and each other for the American Dream. The image of God is present in the wayfaring, begging old woman looking for a place to sleep. However, these friends (and many others) live in the fringes. Suburban landscaping, concrete jungles, and country-acre lots all perpetuate relational and proximal distance that drive potential friends into the fringes. And so, like light piercing a dark room, we follow the Spirit running into the fringes seeking to illuminate every forgotten cob-webbed corner. No longer will we remain content for others to have faces without names. Because God in Christ by the power and leading of the Spirit moved into the neighborhood tabernacling among them, we do too. We are temples rooted within and built upon the Chief-Cornerstone, and it’s time to get the roadshow moving.