Joining Christ daily in the restoration of all things.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When we begin our relationship with Jesus, for many of us, we see the relationship primarily as one based on following Christ; the fallacy in this viewpoint comes from the inability to see that Jesus’ ministry was one that aimed not towards following, but in truly living in a dynamic relationship with him. Each of the four Gospels contains multiple invitations by Jesus to his disciples to join him, one of the clearest of which occurs in Matthew 28:16-20, not simply to follow him. One of the wonderful aspects of the Christian life is that it is a journey that begins when we acknowledge God’s call to follow Him and continues throughout our lives as we draw ever closer to God by joining Him in the work of restoration that He desires for all of Creation. What does it mean for you to join an organization? What does it mean for you to join with another person in working towards a goal? How do you view joining as different from simply being a part of something?
Modern life seems to be surrounded by mission statements. They are supposed to guide our work ventures, lead us in the ways that we volunteer, and inform what seems to be every aspect of our lives; however, these mission statements often become a part of the sound bites that exist around us without ever taking deep root in our hearts and minds.
When we are invited to join with someone to accomplish a task, a certain level of excitement exists for most of us. We are considered to be good enough to participate with someone else in working towards a goal that we both find to be admirable. We suddenly see this task, not as a chore that should be slowly and ploddingly worked towards, but rather it becomes a true goal that should be at the heart of all that we do.
In our walk of faith, we are invited to join Christ in working towards the ultimate goal of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus ushered in the beginning of the Kingdom, and we now live in a time and place where the Kingdom has begun though it is not yet fully established. This idea is sometimes referred to as the almost but not yet idea. One of the common understandings of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God comes in the idea that God will restore all things.
The root word for restoration in Hebrew is shub, which has connotations of returning and turning back. When we think about the idea of restoration, at its heart, as a return to God, it can change our understanding of this concept as being one in which we can more actively participate.
Participation in restoration does not need to be thought of as purely in light of the world as a whole, but truly, it can be seen in working through many, different small steps. Martin Luther’s desire to understand God’s forgiveness led to the restoration of the church through the Protestant Reformation. Tutoring a student at a local school can help give a child a new outlook on their hopes and dreams while also deepening bonds within the community, and time spent working with a church mission partner can lead towards restored hope for people in our city or halfway across the world.
God of new beginnings, you have invited us to work with you, not simply to exist beside you. Your call to participate in life and ministry is one that can often overwhelm us, though we trust that you will provide us with the skills, strengths, and abilities to participate in your kingdom work. We thank you for the opportunities that you have placed before us and ask that you help us to see the magnificent work that you intend for all of creation. Help us to pray alongside believers from all times and places, that your kingdom might truly come to earth, and that we might honor and glorify you as we seek to work with you in the magnificent calling of the restoration of all things. In Christ’s name, we pray; amen.