As part of my process to become an ordained minister in the ELCA, in 2016 I was required to write an essay focusing on my hopes and dreams for the church, where I see God at work in the world, and what I believe about our incredible God. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing excerpts of this essay, as our Learning Lutheran educational series continues and we as a congregation dive into our faith, I invite you to dive into my faith with me.
- What is your understanding of God’s mission in the world? Describe your faith in the Triune God and how your Trinitarian faith has informed your understanding of God’s mission?
My understanding of God’s mission is in the language of hopes, dreams, and will. Because of this understanding, in this essay I will be using “God’s hope for and work in the world,” “my leadership gifts that reach out into our secular world”, and “God’s calling for the church” as a way to describe God’s mission and my participation in that. This imagery of a God who hopes, of a God who dreams, of a God who acts in order to make these dreams reality, is language that fits better with my understanding of who this Triune God is, and what God’s hope is for the world.
My understanding is that God’s hope for the world is to reconcile all of creation back into relationship with Godself, bringing about God’s Kingdom fully on earth. This is a hope, a dream, stemming from the great love and mercy God has for all creation.
My faith in the Triune God is the faith in a God that is made of relationship. The three persons together is the epitome of love and reconciliation. I believe in the mystery of this three in one, God the Father, who created all that has ever been or ever will be, Jesus the Son, who died and was resurrected in order to conquer sin and death, and the Holy Spirit, who comes to us in the hearing of the Gospel, who gives us faith, who empowers us to be in relationship.
The Triune God’s dreams and hopes for the world and for the Kingdom grow out of this relational love within the Trinity. This Triune God dreams and hopes to reconcile all of creation into relationship with Godself, and has been working towards this dream since the beginning of creation. God is made of relationship, and so in that relationship God made everything. God brought the universe into being and brought humanity into this world, and humanity pushed God away.
This Trinity, this God of relationship does not give up on the creation that God loved. And so since the beginning, even before the beginning of sin, God has been reaching out into our world. God dreams so badly to be in relationship with us and to save us that, through Jesus, God became one of us in order to save us from our brokenness. God won’t give up on this hope and dream for reconciliation, for God’s Kingdom, and for our part in it.