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The World Council of Churches' (WCC) Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes is offered as the latest ecumenical articulation of God's mission in a changed and changing world and has been shaped and endorsed by voices from all traditions, contexts, and concerns. It is also just as importantly an invitation to participate in the transforming mission of Christ's Spirit, who is seeking and sustaining life in fullness for the whole inhabited earth. It is a fresh effort to conceive of mission through the life and action of the Holy Spirit, that gift to us of the Trinity's love, and thus an invitation of the church to action in the Spirit's power and truth.

I plan to offer here a biblical reflection and introduction to the thinking in the document and will do so through Isaiah's vision of the commissioning Spirit (Is. 61). This text has its roots in the prophetic tradition of faith and speaks to those who would offer themselves in mission; it also has its flowering in the messianic person of Jesus, (see Luke 4: 18–21), who sends us into mission. This text weaves together an image of the Spirit that unsettles our current realities yet sends us into new realities. In this text we see the Spirit acting companionably and compassionately to invite life, peace, and justice through a series of provocative and subversive choices.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon the unexpected. Most scholars acknowledge that the prophet in the text is unknown and unidentified. (We honour, of course, that, in Luke, Jesus makes it his own text and reveals these are the words that send him into mission.) This ambiguity in the text is, nevertheless, liberating and inclusive because it unsettles our sense of who God chooses as partners in his life-giving mission. This unsettled sense of inclusion has been the long and sometimes painful story of the ecumenical movement itself. Differing and, at times, rival traditions have learned to honour that God's Spirit has stirred churches amongst many peoples and in many ways. There is still a considerable reluctance to acknowledge this at times; many churches are still divided and unreconciled and many still resist an inclusive vision of leadership. Together Towards Life is precisely such an invitation and an expression of faith in the many partners God's spirit calls and equips, however unsettling they may be to institutions and traditions.

Together Towards Life celebrates how the Spirit empowers and acts with and through all people (1 Cor. 12:7), and that the Spirit gathers up all of creation, all life, into the new life God's mission seeks (Rom. 8:19). Thus we might say the Spirit of the Lord is upon people and planet as we together discern the mission to which we are called and that will bring life to all. From Abraham and Sara to Mary and Joseph, from Esther and Ruth to Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, from Moses to Jesus himself, God's choices are often from amongst the odd and the outsiders, revealing that those whom others had rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all (Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; 1 Peter 2:4, 7). It is clear that if the scope and sweep of Together Towards Life is to be fully accomplished and enjoyed it will gather from the full spectrum of God's community and companions. It is also true that if justice is to bring peace, then its vision and scope must be inclusive too. Thus, those who claim companionship with Christ already must ready themselves to discern and welcome the subversion and unsettling of their visions and institutions to make room for all that the Spirit is doing beyond us.

This is particularly evident in the way Together Towards Life articulates how the Spirit is upon creation. For the first time in an ecumenical affirmation, wider creation is recognized as a partner in God's mission and not simply as an object of mission. The web of life that is described in our statement gathers all of created life into a community of being that is called to serve the Creator. One can see that it is not just humanity that is bringing about the transformation God intends. Thus, humanity is not the only agent God commissions in his transforming mission of life. Inspired by a curious mix of indigenous, Orthodox and eco-feminist theologies, the document affirms creation as the first act of God in mission and discerns that all of creation is drawn into the ultimate outworking of God's mission: the new heaven and earth. Mission itself invites the flourishing of creation and creation testifies to the transformation mission brings in its diverse myriad forms, even as it, like us, is prey to death and decay. As Paul reminds us, the groans of creation for life and freedom (Rom. 8: 22) point to the transformation God seeks, a transformation we, as human beings, hamper in our polluting and plundering attitude to the earth and her resources. If creation is partner in mission with us, humanity needs a new humility and a new attitude to the earth. If the Spirit is upon creation then eco-justice becomes fundamental to mission in our profoundly changed and changing land and seascapes.

The WCC is hopeful that the Spirit is also upon this statement and its ambitions and intentions. People, planet, and a discerning process have been at the heart of its inception and development, as its contributors have together tried to articulate God's promise of life to the challenges and threats to life around us. Isaiah learned to interpret and articulate the signs of his times and we do so here too in Together Towards Life. It is prophetic in character, revealing our broken and misguided realities while inviting into being the new realities God's mission inaugurates. The voice it raises may not be recognized by all, or be welcomed or even heeded, but, like Isaiah 61, it speaks with a passion and a promise that wells up from the many who have shared in its development from the many places of hurt and hope around the globe.

The Commission for World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) initiated this new affirmation on mission and evangelism, recognizing that landscapes of mission and evangelism have changed radically over the 30 years since the first statement, “Mission and Evangelism: An Ecumenical Affirmation,” was produced in 1982. Edinburgh 2010 called for fresh thinking, and our assembly in Busan took a missional theme: “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” Thus the Spirit and the times have moved us to reflect and discern together the new contours of our mission together. The statement itself comes as a result of CWME working groups since 2008. It was revised following the CWME pre-assembly mission event in Manila, 22–27 March 2012, and unanimously approved by the CWME commission in June 2012, and further unanimously approved by the central committee as a WCC official position statement on mission on 5 September 2012. A rich vision of life flows throughout the process and the document: the Trinity's life, human life, and creation's life, all called into life in fullness. This is the life towards which we are sent, and so, under the Spirit's wing and in her power, this mission statement considers where we are sent.

… he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography

The statement, like Isaiah and Luke, outlines for us many of the places to which the Spirit sends us and where the Spirit is most at work. But it also offers us new perspective on how to honour those places, and the people and beings there who are companions with the Spirit in this mission of life. Once more the unsettling and sending Spirit is revealed. Isaiah's litany of woeful locations is an invitation to settle our values and practices on compassion and justice, not on convenience and vested interest.

Together Towards Life is full of passion for justice, angry and hurting over the deliberate exploitation of people and planet for profit. We see the life of the world drawn against a backdrop of economic and ecological exploitation. The economic systems of our world fail to deliver life and well-being; wealth is accumulated for few at the expense of the many. The environmental crisis is urgent and sinful, a product of broken and exploitative ways of living and trading that show contempt for creation and the Creator. Poverty, violence, and discrimination continue to overshadow nations and communities and churches. This is not the life God's mission calls us towards. Yet in all those places where life is most denied, the Spirit is most determined. Together Towards Life calls for churches to orient themselves to the life of the Spirit, who is bringing justice and peace, and to be at one with the Trinity in overflowing love. There can be no surprise that this theme is central also to any notions of mission in Christ's way, for this is the way Jesus is sent at Nazareth in the power of the Spirit, under this text.

No one can be surprised that the WCC continues to assert and treasure this abiding aspect of the mission we are called to. The call to justice needs to be renewed in every generation. The thwarting of justice continues unabated, and no church can imagine that it has ticked this off its list of priorities as complete. The Spirit is always commissioning partners in the many places where life is threatened and transformation denied. The institutions of God's people are typically compromised when it comes to the struggle for justice, as Isaiah's earlier chapters testify (See Is. 1:10–20). The ideas and issues may be familiar to us, but the implementation continues to unsettle us and expose us as perpetrators of injustice, deaf to the voices of those whose poverty announces what God is doing.

… to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography

The spirit of Together Towards Life is compassionate and companionable, as well as urgent and active. Mission is not seen as something done to people, especially to those at the margins of our life and world, but rather as something done with and through and from such places and people. Mission in itself flows from participation, is the first fruit of the community of love and solidarity that grows out of the Trinity's life. This affirmation also testifies to this inclusive and participative ethos that is mission in the Spirit. It has emerged from the harmonizing of many voices, contributors, and concerns, all gradually recognizing they are companions together in the life and mission God is leading.

However warm our ethos, the pain and hurt that needs solidarity is a clear driving force in the statement. This solidarity is a test of our vision and our commitment to the community of life God's Spirit indwells. Mission dignifies and honours those people and movements that vested interests and power discredit and dehumanise. This unsettling of who is valued is typical of the “last shall be first” mission of Christ. Yet, this is not to be understood in paternalistic terms: “time for the poor people to have a turn,” etc. Rather it is to recognize that those who live in poverty are precisely the people through whom God speaks about wealth and economy. Those who are outcast are the people through whom God speaks about community and human dignity. Those who are resisting the powers of death are the people through whom God speaks about bringing life. This is the garland that mission confers, this is how mission provides those who mourn: by honouring their pain and struggle and sharing in it.

… They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography

Together Towards Life anticipates and invites healing and transformation. This is always the work of the Holy Spirit. The new mission statement sets out much that is wrong and unjust about our world, but the hope the Spirit brings is also clear. The themes of the statement invite us to be hopeful and joyful, to lift our spirits and our hearts. Mission calls on us to deepen our spiritualities, to develop the power to discern, share, resist, transform, celebrate: LIVE so that mission can be pursued in the dynamic presence of the Spirit. Yet we do so mindful that it is not our own glory that we seek, nor our own kingdom that we build. Instead, we seek the healing of the hurting and of the nations; we seek communion with the whole community of the earth as we seek and witness to Christ's vision of life in fullness. Thus it is not simply the church that is heir to the promise of life, but all humanity, and not just humanity but the whole inhabited earth, indeed the entire cosmos. God has made us for life.

Mindful of religious intolerance and communal violence, Together Towards Life calls us to postures of dialogue and understanding, seeking to create the kind of companionable harmonious life we are called towards. It calls for churches to dismantle their own structures of prejudice and discrimination that we might live in fuller communion with each other, the earth, and the Trinity. In these new, if unsettled, relationships and attitudes, new life and hope can flourish. This vision of Christian presence offers a new place to take up with our neighbours who may be wary of our intentions in mission. While mission invites people into life-giving relationship with and through Christ, it is not done manipulatively or by force. The wounds and legacies of forced conversions or disrespectful proselytizing still hamper churches in mission, still make our neighbours closed to the riches of Christ that we can share best in more companionable and respectful ways.

Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography

Isaiah speaks to those who were disenfranchised through exile: those who lost their land and all that went with it. Moreover, these people whose lands were taken were forced to work the land of their oppressor while their ancestral heritage was exploited, plundered, and left to ruin. They felt the shame of the loss of their ancestral land and the humiliation of their lot, being forced to labour for their tormentors. They could only weep by the waters of Babylon as they dishonoured themselves, singing the Lord's song in a strange land. Theirs was a spirit of desolation, but Isaiah offered new hope that their weeping would turn to songs of joy.

This is such a beautiful encapsulation of the transformation the Spirit brings. As churches and congregations begin to apply Together Towards Life there are so many powerful hope-filled possibilities. The study process that produced Together Towards Life heard from those who have seen their ancestral lands taken for intensive farming or for municipal power projects. It heard from women who continue to be subjected to patriarchy and are rejected from leadership roles in churches and society. It heard from Dalits, whose humanity is regularly denied – even by fellow Christians who keep caste. Moreover this statement is developed by precisely these indigenous people, women and Dalits in order to particularly articulate this hurt and hope of joy at last for those who have been grievously wronged and disenfranchised. Together Towards Life invites solidarity with just such as these people and movements, inviting the moment of liberation that all can rejoice in, even as all roles and structures are unsettled in favour of those with whom the Spirit now weeps.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography

In all of the wide-ranging human and social issues that Together Towards Life tackles, space is still made for the personal and the individual. The vision of transformation it offers includes all that we as individuals need and seek through faith and share in mission as an invitation to others to believe. The ecumenical vision of mission still rejoices in the encounter the Spirit makes possible with Christ, who is ever revealing to us the love and will of the Father. The spirituality for mission is rooted in the hope, joy, and love Christ breathes on his followers, and it is precisely in being Christ's followers that we receive his mandate for mission by his Spirit alive and at work in us.

Evangelism flows from the deep sense of hope in Christ that we as followers feel and cannot but share with others. This is the hope that keeps us struggling for justice alongside the poorest and the earth. It is the hope that gives us power to repent and change and build new structures that bring life in our economies and in our churches. Our relationship with Christ is what sends us into relationship with others, in warm, loving, and compassionate ways. This relationship ever invites us to discern God's presence and celebrate it and partner ourselves with it, participating in all that God seeks to unsettle and do in mission around, beyond, and through us.

For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography

It is thus our joyful mission to share our faith and hope in ever loving and neighbourly ways. We rejoice that the Spirit leads us into the truth of Christ and into the example of his life, remembering how he sought to be a blessing to all. Mission, evangelism and liturgy call us towards a life modelled on Christ and filled with the Spirit, all under the Father's care. This joyful living needs to be expressed in all aspects of our common life and depends on our sharing together in everwider and deeper ecumenical endeavour. Mindful of each other's pain, inspired by each other's story, affirmed by each other's acceptance, fired by each other's passion, strengthened by each other's company, we can be filled with the Spirit and thus express and embody: God of life: lead us into justice and peace. Thus, in a great company in heaven and on the earth, we travel together towards life.

Biography

  1. Top of page
  2. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon … (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  3. … he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Is. 61:1; see Luke 4:18)
  4. … to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes (Is. 61:3)
  5. … They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Is. 61:4)
  6. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD … Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (Is. 61:5–9)
  7. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Is. 61:10)
  8. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Is. 61:11)
  9. Biography
  • Rev. Dr Peter Cruchley-Jones is from Wales, and is a minister of the United Reformed Church in the UK. Peter is a pastor and mission theologian, mixing pastoral charge with university teaching. He has participated in the Commission for World Mission and Evangelism Spirituality and Mission working groups and shared in some of the drafting of the new mission statement.