… Becoming sensitive to God’s recreative life all around us
Scot McKnight is Professor of New Testament studies at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, author or editor of 50 books and well-known speaker and blogger. During New Horizon 2016, he will be leading the morning Bible Teaching (10am Monday – Friday). Here, the NH Media Team brings you a summary of what he had to say at the Evening Celebration on Saturday 6 August.
My wife and I are avid bird watchers. We don’t go places to look at birds but we look at birds wherever we go. The hummingbird is one of the greatest creations on planet earth but they are difficult to spot.
Someone told us, “You just have to have eyes to see them. They are small and fast and camouflaged but once you have an eye to see them, you will see them everywhere!”
If you are near a hummingbird, there is a hum and you can hear it. We need the gift and the opportunity to hear the “hum” of the hummingbird.
Likewise, we need to have the eyes to see the work of God in the world and ears to hear the “hum” of His re-creative life everywhere we go. That hum helps us see in every human being a grander marvel than the galaxy. Each person is a creation of God.
Are we attentive to the music of God in the world?
The hum of God’s re-creative life is heard loudest in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
“Remember King Jesus, raised from the dead, descended from David – this is my Gospel.”
For Paul, the Gospel was to remember Jesus Christ, to announce that He had been raised from the dead and that He was a descendant from David. The resurrection gives meaning to the cross. Sometimes our understanding of theology is not sufficiently shaped by the resurrection.
This is at the very core of what we, as Christians, believe: that death is not the last word. The last word is life. New life from God can turn death into a new life before God so that we can live forever.
Until we get to Easter, Good Friday lays like a tragedy. The hum of God’s re-creative life is first heard in the resurrection.
1 Kings 17 (The widow at Zarephath) – Sometimes we are less than grateful for God’s provision, until we are put in a corner and that provision becomes a necessity. God is providing for us and we need to pause and give thanks for what He has provided!
The confession of God’s people
Every two years, America convulses for two years over who the next president will be. Here’s the problem. Increasingly, Christians believe in the ‘eschatology’ of politics – if we get the right person elected, our country will be saved.
Jesus is the King… not the president or prime minister. He alone is on the throne. Our hope is not in the political process but in the cross that has been taken to the next level by the resurrection. NT Wright says, “One day all creation will be rescued from slavery, from the corruption, decay and death which destroy it and make it place of injustice, violence and brutality…”
We participated in this new creation NOW. We should be hearing the hum of God’s re-creative life when we confess that Jesus is Lord and we are His people.
The story of conversions
I like the story of the apostle Paul. Conversion is the work of God and when we see someone like Paul who hated the church becoming God’s friend, we are encouraged to see the hum of God’s re-creative life in the world.
I recommend “Girl meets God” – the story of Lauren Winner.
When we baptise people in our churches, we hear the hum of God’s life.
When we witness to what God has done in us and tell our stories, we express the hum of God’s re-creative life. If we listen, we can hear it.
The hum of God’s re-creative life only comes from Jesus.
Seeing through death
The problem of our world… is death. The Bible has a solution for the problem of death!
Aging, sickness and disease are the hums of death. Two features of my story make me deeply conscious of death and aging. I grew up in the kind of church that preached every Sunday some version of “hellfire and damnation.” I didn’t need to be told that I was going to die – I heard it every week. Probably even more important to me was that I grew up next to a cemetery. Death was all around me. I am grateful for a life where death was a reminder of what God can do.
Either we run from death, or we face death. If we face death in the light of the resurrection, we see through death into the new life of God’s re-creation.
In Jesus, God is with us. If Jesus is in us, God’s life is in us. If God’s life is in us, resurrection power has been unleashed to help us live our lives.
Give us grace to see through our world into the next.