Article by Joanna Hubbard.
What does a renewed humanity or world look like?
One of the beautiful images of renewal I see in scripture is in Psalm 85
“Heaven and earth coming together in a rich and fruitful embrace: grace and truth will meet at last, justice and peace will kiss each other; truth will spring up from the earth, and justice look down from heaven.”
Here we see creation and created renewed and thriving and good. It speaks of life flourishing in very botanical terms; fruitful and springing up. It speaks of repaired and renewed relationships; embracing, meeting and kissing. It gives us an image of a society that is renewed and the fruits of that renewal are marked by justice, universal wellbeing, right relationships, harmony and a wholeness between Creator, created and creation.
So often people feel like they/we are a long way from this kind of renewed community but I believe that in the person of Jesus the Spirit of God begun the work of breaking in and giving us glimpses of this renewal even (and perhaps especially) among places we would like to call “broken”.
I believe, therefore, it is not our mandate to go and fix brokenness. As people who know (even if just a little) the voice and character of God I believe we have the opportunity to go on a treasure hunt for where glimpses of the Kingdom of God are already springing forth among the brokenness.
It is my experience that when we focus our gaze, our power and our words on the brokenness that is all we will see. And it is an exhausting and life-sapping narrative. Over 10 years in community ministry I have comes to see that when we try to fix people or turn communities, individuals and families into problems that need solutions we create people and communities who live up to that reputation. But when we offer an alternative narrative we create hope. I believe Jesus offers this alternative narrative of a God who has given good gifts to all people; who is especially interested in the giftedness of those more marginalised by people; and who has created and chosen all people for the kind of community described in Psalm 85. When we focus our gaze, our power and our words on that narrative we see glimpses of it in every person, family and community we encounter and we are able to speak that life and beauty into each situation. And that is Good News.
Joanna is an ordained minister of religion with over 10 years of ministry experience. She has consulted with charities and churches in Australia and internationally and has managed teams of over 100 volunteers and staff. Joanna works with churches to develop their relationships with their local communities by focusing on the assets of the local church as well as the strengths of the local community. She believes that, as churches, we have an incredible privilege of partnering with the Spirit of God in the work of renewal and restoration in our local communities.
Hear Joanna speak at the 2017 LifeWell Conference: Renewed: www.lifewellconference.com.au
Photo of sunrise over Golden Grove, South Australia by W Rush