Eugene Peterson, in his new book, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ explores the church in the book of Ephesians, and it’s a great week to ponder his thoughts and these questions.
Questions of the Day: Think about your local community … What do you see when you observe the Church? What do you think God sees? What do you think Christ wants us to see?
Chp 7 explores Ephesians 3:1-13, the manifold wisdom of God at work in the Church.
He tells a story of his own church back in his days in Maryland when he thought the Christians would struggle to worship and be all for neighborhood, but he found the opposite.
But shifts then to the theme of the chapter: “inscape.” The word was coined by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, and it was framed from “landscape.” Instead of focusing on what everyone sees at the level of the empirical, the landscape, Hopkins was after the inner essence of what we see. It’s the inner character, the personality, what makes up the particular species that concerns Hopkins and Peterson when using the word “inscape.”
What’s the “inscape” of Church?
The landscape of the church can be laid on the table: creeds and buildings and choirs and conflicts and leaders and histories. But these, even if you find every one of them and put them on the table, don’t add up to the Church. And he doesn’t buy the idea of a mystical church, because the church is the reality of a local congregation.
Life created by death, attainment of glory by dishonor, blessing by curse, power by weakness… and more… “this is real church” (142). That’s its inscape.
Are we going to receive what God gives us?
Observe, he says, the shadow work and you will see what God is doing.