Academic journal article International Review of Mission

God's Transforming Spirit: Reflections on Mission, Spirituality and Creation

Academic journal article International Review of Mission

God's Transforming Spirit: Reflections on Mission, Spirituality and Creation

Article excerpt

Introductory Remarks

God's transforming Spirit takes us where theology matters most." how we speak of the life of God in a way that speaks to the life of the world. The following reflections undertake this especially in the context of the pre-eminent crisis in the world's life today, the pollution and unrepentant exploitation of the earth. In some senses, these reflections flow from an environmental liberation theology, trying to address issues of creation, mission and spirituality from the perspective of earth's hurt and her Creator's pain. They even aim to come from a new "below', lifting up the complex, diverse non-human life of the planet to be understood as partner and agent in God's mission. Informed by injustices of human exploitation of the earth, this study is, nevertheless, inspired by hope in the earth's Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. While rooted in a deeply trinitarian notion of God, it sees a new and exciting route into these issues via the particular life of the Trinity expressed in the ru'ach Spirit.

There is a wide spectrum of terms for the Spirit. This document allies itself with an eco-feminist perspective on the Spirit as ru'ach. This signals an identification with the eco-feminist perspective as an essential corrective to the and rocentric perspective that has been so exploitative. It also opens the way to invite fresh insights from Indigenous Peoples that also infirm the characterization of the Spirit in this text. But the fundamental character of the Spirit in this text is transformational. This makes the Spirit dynamic within and beyond Creation and with and without humanity.

This dynamic is often recognized in the text as a spiral. This describes the Spirit's movement and is also a metaphor for the spirit as life. "The ru'ach is a force for life, a sign of God's deep compassion embracing all life. Such love calls forth more love in answer and response. We meet her compassion with our care and commitment and find ourselves accountable to each other. The flow of love spirals forth and the gift of life is renewed and transformed". And further: "This spiralling life force relates, gathers, empowers and sends us into relationship, into gathering, into empowerment as the means by which we witness that all are related, all Connected within Creation and between Creation and Creator".

God's transforming Spirit not only creates and empowers life in general, she also agitates and ferments life into partnership with God's mission. This is the further transformation she brings. She is not a deist Spirit, content to let individual lives exist in isolation but embroils herself in Creation's life, inviting fresh communities turned towards the vision of life she exudes. This study offers a spirituality and praxis for mission that seeks to live in harness with this.

   Thus there is a balance to be found and sustained that honours
   Creation and Creator by nurturing justice, peace and love with all
   our neighbours and our Mother. This re-balance is the mandate given
   to us by the widow, orphan and stranger, who together with the
   ru'ach empower this seeking for and celebrating of justice. It is
   no surprise that the ru'ach Spirit commissions both the Divine
   Christ (Luke 4:18; see also his baptism: Luke 4:1), the ancient
   prophets (Isa. 61:1; Ez. 2:2) and surely those new prophets who
   rise up generation by generation within and beyond our churches.

This vision of a community for and of the earth that exists within and beyond our churches is also crucial to this study. The transformation promised by the ru'ach gathers together people of faith and people who profess no faith, and initiates relationships that our theologies and ecclesiologies need to acknowledge and accommodate. But even this broad notion of fresh community is expanded in these reflections. "We need a companionable anthropology that sees humanity in community with all the other forms of life that show us the means to inhabit the complex whole that the ru'ach breathes into life". …

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