While on a recent ministry trip, I visited the magnificent Albanian Orthodox Resurrection Cathedral in Tirané, Albania. It was there that I found a treasure…an Albanian Orthodox icon of the Holy Trinity based on Russian artist, Andrea Rublev’s famous original. I purchased a postcard version of the icon, and have since used it to ponder and reflect, not only on our trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but on the missio Dei that flows out of the relationships within the Trinity. Take a moment to gaze at the icon.
The theology expressed in the Latin term missio Dei articulates the belief that mission is God’s mission and we are God’s instruments in that mission. The starting point of missio Dei is a trinitarian God: mission is the purpose and action of the triune God. The relationship of LOVE that is evidenced in the Trinity is also how the triune God acts in the world. IWS President Jim Hart wrote: “The love of God is best displayed in the hospitable love of the Trinity. The loving life of the triune God overflows via ongoing continuous creation into all created things, especially humankind, and calls it back to the Source of Love.”
The mission of God, to redeem all of creation, begins with the love of the Triune God.
His love endures forever (Psalm 118).
God so loved the world that He sent Jesus… (John 3:16).
God demonstrates His love for us by sending Jesus… (Romans 5:8).
Love comes from God…God is love…This is how God showed love…He sent Jesus (1 John 4:7-10).
What can separate us from the love of God? (Romans 8:38-39).
And WE are invited to join in this mission of LOVE…for the life of the world. Mission is not first something the Church does, but describes the very being of God and how God works in our world. In his book The Open Secret, Lesslie Newbigin articulates that “the Triune God is involved in a mission, and sends the Spirit-empowered Church [that’s US] to participate fully in that mission.” There is a dynamic relationship that exists between worship and mission—that gathering as God’s people includes at its very heart our being sent out into the world in God’s name…it is an “inside out” way of thinking and living. As we gather for corporate worship, we are transformed and renewed, and then sent out to do and be what God has called us to do and be. We are gathered and sent for the life of the world. Because, “God SO loved the world that God sent His only Son, Jesus…that NONE would die.” We are called to join Jesus, to join the Trinity, on a lifelong mission trip…for the life of the world.
You are invited to take your place at the Table with the Holy Trinity. There is a place for each one of us, a place hospitably extended to us to sit in fellowship, worship our trinitarian God, and discern our unique part in the missio Dei.
We are invited to come into the depth and intimacy of the Trinity and complete the circle at the Table, to join the missio Dei…the movements of God in the world. I encourage you to gaze at the Albanian Holy Trinity icon, using it as a prayer window, to ponder for a few minutes what your response of “Here am I! Send me!” might look like.