As God’s image-bearers, we learn to communicate by imitating him.
I’m convinced that God delights in all our efforts to communicate, whether online or off. Communication expresses his image. Being relational is the very heart of who God is as Trinity. As digital communication gets more and more creative, even the creativity of our communication expresses his image within us. But God did not send us an Avatar to save us. He entered into our world in a real, embodied way, speaking with a real, male voice in Jesus.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3
Jesus has now returned to his place in heaven, yet God’s communication with humanity continues. He communicates through his word, and through his church. Not just through individual believers, but through the whole bunch of us together, even as we muddle along working through conflict and differences!
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor 12.27)
People who don’t yet know God can’t receive and understand his message, without recognising (and usually struggling) with this unusual medium. God is using an awkward communication tool. People’s experience, in viewing God in the church can be like trying to have a conversation through a letterbox. We – the church – always get in the way. It’s like noise on a phone line, or flickering lines on a video picture.
On those occasions when we really drop the ball, it’s like the signal’s been dropped or the broadband just cut out. We do the unforgivable and trust is left in tatters. Think on-screen egg-timer, or ‘loading’. Human, sinful people might seem a poor substitute for the perfect Son of God as a medium for God to communicate to the world, it’s what He’s committed to use.
This amazes me. It also inspires me. It makes me want to be a full, present, embodied ‘communication tool’ in God’s hands… playing my full part with the local church, and ready to shine or speak or act in a way that shows Him up really well. I know my failings – our failings – will cast a shadow on his glory. But whatever happens, we are the message of God’s love to the world!
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