Whakapono: A Gospel of Inclusion

Throughout our Whakapono series we’ve been unpacking the big ideas that are shaping us as an Edge community on our journey of faith together. This has not been a “you must believe this” kind of series, but an invitation to consider our core convictions and what these might mean for us as they continue to unfold.

Throughout this series we’ve been exploring a paradigm of belief that is broad, expansive, dynamic and inclusive. This vision of the Christian faith is not about hard boundaries of exclusion by which we manage the entry gates through which souls can be saved. Instead, it is a faith that invites us into a way of being in the world that is shaped by a triune God of love who is present in and through all things, a revolutionary Christ who challenges the religious and political powers of oppression and control, and the Spirit who is the source of all life.

This is not intended as an abstract set of ideas disconnected from the real dynamic of our everyday lives. One of the problems with systems of belief is that they can become a substitute for genuinely living differently in the world. This is often referred to in theology as the tension between orthodoxy and orthopraxy; terms that relate to what we believe, and what we outwork in practice. The church tradition in the West is often criticised for an over-emphasis on orthodoxy, at the expense of orthopraxy - but in a series like this one we should be challenged to ask “what does this all mean for how we live our everyday lives”?             

There’s also a third ‘ortho’ to think about - orthopathy – which has to do with pathos; the heart, the emotions, the affections. In this respect our church community plays a critical role. We gather, we sing and we pray, and we try to open up moments for our hearts to engage. That this is not just a ‘right belief’ thing, nor is it only a ‘right behaviour’ framework, but it is about the orientation of our desires and our loves; in other words, our hearts. So as we open up to this Whakapono, here is a benediction for us as an Edge community:

 

May you come to know that God is always speaking

God’s voice echoing in the cosmos

And revealed in the sacred stories of those who have gone before us

 

And may you see that the circulating flow of divine love in the Triune God, 

also lies at the heart of all things

For God is love

 

And may you come to participate in the Spirit of the revolutionary Christ

This Christ who offers radical grace

And who disrupts the oppressive structures of the powerful

This Christ who is killed by those powers

But whose rising invites us to live differently in the world

 

And may you receive Holy Spirit

For she is the source of all life and wisdom

And is the ground of our being

 

And may you sense God present in and through all of creation

For all of life is sacred

And the earth must be cared for as our common home

 

And may your life be inspired by renewal and hope

A hope that says “there is more going on here” and it is good

And a renewal that travels with us

 

And may you come to accept that you are the image of God

That to be fully yourself is beautiful, good and holy

And may you live in a way that sees and esteems the humanity in others

That we might be humans “fully alive”

and so reveal the glory of God