Gospel Incarnation Series [Part 1 of 3]: Click | View Series
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and full of truth.
– John 1:14
In one sentence, John gives us a presentation of the incarnation embedded in this chapter that is largely poetic and very different from the rest of his narrative writings. John seems to be a simple man who writes out of that simplicity, but in this paragraph, he tries to say incredibly complex and large statements about creation and the incarnation in a more poetic and theological way.
I have drawn out Terra Nova
’s system of living out the gospel from John 1:14. If the body of Christ is to live out the mission of Christ, it must be the things that John represents—present, full of truth, and full of grace. We have created three zones out of which that happens: Justice, Culture, and Mercy.
Culture is that place of presence where you stand with people and are part of them. It calls for you to be exactly who you are. In my case, being a guy who published a small press and independent recording label, who used to read poetry in clubs, whose friends were all sorts of oddball, semi-urban, hermit artists, being missionally present meant opening a gallery and reaching into a quickly changing downtown area of Troy that was becoming “artified.”
The Terra Nova Gallery (www.terranovachurch.org
) has become a popular destination for Troy Night Out, our city’s monthly attempt to draw people out and into its restaurant, music, and art scene. In fact, we’re one of the top two galleries in the city. When our church was averaging about 200 people, we were also averaging about 200 people at the monthly gallery event, only ten percent of whom were from Terra Nova. These twenty or so individuals were and continue to be given an opportunity to be missional culturally as they not only mingle with the many visitors to our gallery, but visit, support, and get to know the greater arts community at other galleries in the city.
We have encouraged everyone to identify a place where they need to be culturally present. Culture, most simply defined as a shared set of words, cues, and artifacts that are understood without translation, differs from person to person with plenty of overlap. I have challenged every person in our community to represent Christ within their culture, because it is on that singular level that the incarnation of the gospel happens.
To be continued.