Bible Verse: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Scripture Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

Stories make meaning, and if there is one thing we are starving for, it’s meaning.

In direct tension with meaning making are the anonymous, machine-like systems we navigate through every day. It can feel meaningless, or even anti-meaning.

If you follow Jesus, you have one foot in God’s world of meaning, centred on your identity as a child of God—a world you’ve been called to help co-create. This is a world of identity and vocation deeply rooted in shalom—all things being as they were intended to be. You also have one foot in the present age that says you are what you produce or what you consume.

You have one foot in both worlds because you’ve been called to co-create God’s world of meaning right smack in the middle of the present world of anti-meaning. So there is tension. In John’s Revelation of Jesus it’s called thlipsis, which means pressure, as in crushing pressure.

If you follow Jesus you are supposed to feel the tension. To navigate this tension you don’t need answers, you need good questions. You need to ask those questions of and share those questions with others around you who are living in the same tension.

You need to tear down for each other, reveal the story of the machine. You need you to build up for each other, explore the story of identity centered in imago dei, explore the story of meaning-making centred around hesed, misphat, tsedek, which can be translated as love, justice, and righteousness.

If you follow Jesus you are called to imagine and then make manifest an alternative, upside-down world right in your neighbourhood. You are called to join God in co-creating it, and then ask your neighbours to join you. You are your neighbourhood’s conduit to the infinite possibility of an identity and vocation, rooted in the lived experience of all God’s children making meaning in the world. Shalom.

  1. Can you identify the tension in your life—the machine-like systems, the meaninglessness, the anti-meaning?
  2. What would it look like if your neighbours on your street had their identity and vocation deeply rooted in shalom? What good questions could you share with them to initiate a dialogue?

— Steve Frost in 40 Days of Faith and Hope in Action


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