It has been said many times that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s true. In fact, some pictures are words thousands upon thousands of words. That’s the beauty of imagery. It needs very little, if any, explanation. For example, look at the picture to the left. If you see this on a hiking trail, do you really need someone to explain anything else?
Do you know that this is what we, the church, are to be? Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (italics mine). The word “handiwork” in the Greek New Testament is poiēma which is where we also get the English word “poem” or “poetry” from. In other words, we, the church, are God’s poetry. Or as the New Jerusalem Bible reads, “We are God’s work of art…”
The gem is that we are God’s living artwork. That is, as we live a life of good works we become living artwork rather than a static piece of art. As this living artwork engaged in good works (ministering to others, proclaiming the gospel, etc…), we participate in the mission of God as we point to the glory of God and his coming reign. As Jürgen Moltmann says, “The church in the power of the Spirit is not yet the kingdom of God, but it is its anticipation in history” (The Church in the Power of the Spirit, 196).
And this is an image worth thousands and thousands of words which needs little explaining, as it is the masterpiece of God!
Next week I’ll be teaching a class at the 2013 Pepperdine University Bible Lectures on this very idea of us, the church, as the living artwork of God titled God’s Masterpiece: The Church as the Magnum Opus of God. The class will meet Thursday, May 2nd at 1:30 PM in AC 286. If you are attending the lectures then perhaps this is a class for you (and yes, that was a shameless plugin). Of course, there will be many other great classes, keynote addresses, worship and fellowship time too…and it’s in Malibu, California (another image that needs no further explanation).
Any ways, think about how much effort has been invested in Christian apologetics. Sometimes apologetics are necessary and I’m thankful for those highly skilled in the field of Christian apologetics. But I also think it needs to be said that perhaps the best apologetic we, the church, can offer is ourselves when we embrace our identity as the God’s living artwork. What do you think?