I’m working in Ephesians 2:11-20 this week in preparation for the sermon. This is a sketch to help me visualize the role that the Trinity plays in fulfilling the promise of bringing all things to God.
The Father/Mother/Creator is creating all things through the Spirit/Redeemer. Humans, being limited creatures, create boundaries around themselves. We call these boundaries culture. Culture is good and necessary because the human must have concreteness–language, rules of engagement, common stories, etc.–to exist. However, these boundaries can also become isolating prison cells and walls of hostility when they become rigid and self-elevating, pitting one culture as superior to another.
Jesus, the Son/Child/Reconciler was sent to stand in the gap between cultures. His humanity made it necessary for him to be born within a particular culture in a particular time and place. That is what it means to be human, and that is good. However, He showed us the path of spiritual formation and the Kingdom of God as he moved outward from within the Jewish culture. He broke down the wall, abolishing the law that formed the boundary between Jews and Gentiles, thus setting the example for us to follow the way of God. His movement led to his death, and his resurrection demonstrates the new life in God’s kingdom. He was willing to sacrifice himself to bring reconciliation to all. This is the love of God. This is shalom–peace on earth–God’s promised and preferred future.
Jesus demonstrates the love and grace of the Father. The Spirit draws us and empowers us to follow the way of Jesus–dying to self and living for the other and the many–and brings us all into the holy of holies, where we are the dwelling place of God.
Notice the movement in this picture. It is a two-way flow. God moves to create us, we move toward God. In so moving, we co-create God’s Kingdom with God on earth.
Notice, also, that this image shows the contrast between the bounded set and the centered set. Culture, when seen as a bounded set, isolates and kills the flow of life. The centered set allows individuals to retain their cultural identity but to be unified with people of other cultures in the movement to Christ in the power of the Spirit. The spirit is coming from a different place in each path but is drawing all things to the same purposes, which is the self-transcending love of God for all things. This life-flow is the essence of God.