Welcome to ‘…for he has made you beautiful’, a blog and resource site for Old Testament ethics and the mission of the local church. The name ‘…for he has made you beautiful’ is from Isaiah 60:9, which pictures the nations who are attracted to Israel, by her life of faithfulness and justice:
For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful.
The image is a painting of the French industrial city of Rouen by Camille Pissarro, ‘Pont Boieldieu, Rouen, sunset, misty weather’ (1896). Pissarro exemplifies for me what it means to ‘love a place’, an activity which is the beginning of local mission. Chimney stacks, crowded sidewalks and grey sky may make Rouen an unlikely subject of affection. Yet the playfulness with which light dances in the water below and the smoke above betrays Pissarro’s deep affection for his subject.
The site is authored by Mark Glanville PhD, a pastor-scholar who ministers at Grandview Calvary Church, Vancouver and is Professor of Old Testament and congregational studies at the Missional Training Center, Phoenix (missionaltraining.org).
Back to Isaiah’s vision of the nations streaming because of Israel’s beauty: Beauty for Isaiah was not something external to the life of Israel: God’s people were to live as a contrast community of kinship and justice – irresistibly alluring. The church of Christ, too, is called to be a contrast community, rejecting the idols of our time and living instead with generosity and joy. We are to be a community that displays in life, words and deeds the restorative rule of Christ. The Lordship of Christ mobilizes us to engage our world in all its fullness: relationally, financially, spiritually, vocationally, etc. Leslie Newbigin writes:
The church is nothing other than that movement launched into the public life of the world by its sovereign Lord to continue that which he came to do until it is finished in his return in glory. (Newbigin)
The ethics and theology of the Old Testament launches the local church into the life of the world. It authorises us to speak to global issues. It empowers the church to display in life, word and deed the beautifying reign of Christ.
Thanks for spending some time here!