Kaleidoscope: Multiplying New Forms Across the Stratosphere

KALEIDOSCOPE

A Kaleidoscope is a mesmerising instrument containing mirrors and pieces of coloured glass whose reflections, when the tube is rotated, form an endless variety of constantly changing patterns or sequence of elements

Like a mass of Autumn leaves, moved by the wind, swirling through the air, producing a kaleidoscope of colour

If you look into a kaleidoscope you will see these changing shapes and pretty colours

The word Kaleidoscope was coined in 1817 by Scottish inventor David Brewster and is a particularly expressive and exotic sounding. It is a word composed from three ancient Greek words;

Kalos meaning; ‘beautiful or beauty’

Eidos meaning; ‘that which is seen: form, shape’ and

Skopeo, ‘to look to, to examine’, from which we derive the English word-forming element- Scope meaning, ‘Something for viewing’

Hence ‘Kaleidoscope‘ is the observation of beautiful forms’  

 

A MULTI-FACETED SCOPE

The scope of something also refers to the extent of the area or subject matter that something deals with, as in;

‘we widen the scope of our investigation’

The Apostle Paul conveys this as it relates to the church in this way;

‘When I think of the wisdom and scope of his [God’s] plan, I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God—some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth’ (Ephesians 3:14 TLB)

The whole of Ephesians 3 gives us a truly kaleidoscopic picture of the Church as it conveys God’s Eternal Purpose;

‘His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 3:10)

The Manifold Wisdom of God can be translated in a myriad of ways as follows;

‘Display his wisdom in its rich variety’ (NLT)

‘Through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be known…’ (ESV)

‘This is so God’s multi-faceted wisdom may be known through the church to…’ (Holmans Christian Standard Bible)

‘He did this so that now, through the church, the wisdom of God in all its variety might be made known…’ (ISV)

‘That by the church would be made known the full-diverse wisdom of God…’ (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

 

DEFINITIIONS

‘Manifold’ means ‘Many’ and ‘Various’

‘Multifaceted’ means ‘Having many sides’, ‘Having many different aspects or features’, ‘Having many facets, as a gem‘, ‘Having many phases or abilities’ as in, ‘the diamond’s multifaceted surface’ or ‘a multifaceted problem’


STRATOSPHERIC

God’s purpose in all this was to use the…CHURCH

to display his multifaceted wisdom in all it’s rich variety to…

ALL the UNSEEN rulers and authorities in the heavenly places’ (Eph 3:10)

God actually chooses to display his manifold wisdom to the unseen spiritual rulers in the heavenly realms through the church!

Who are these ‘unseen rulers’?

Well, they are mentioned in Ephesians 1:19-21

‘I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him, This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else– not only in this world but also in the world to come.’

And in Ephesians 2:2 more light is shed on this unseen world

‘Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil- the commander of the powers in the unseen world [commander of the power of the air]’

And furthermore in Ephesians 6:11-12 we are exhorted to, ‘Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places’ 

 

ETERNAL PLAN

‘This was his Eternal Plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Ephesians 3:11)

We (the church) are to display the manifold wisdom to these unseen powers

That’s the full scope of it all…we are part of something truly stratospheric…but it doesn’t end there…

 

KALEIDOSCOPIC LANDSCAPE

The eternal picture of the ‘GardenCity‘ coming down from heaven described to us in the book of Revelation has no temple or ‘church’ in the sense that many come to regard it; as a dedicated building for religious purposes. Instead the entire city is filled with the glory and light of God. The walls of the city are made of jasper and built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones. The city has 12 gates made of pearl and the Main Street consists of pure gold, as clear as glass…as the apostle John reports;

‘I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light’ (Revelation 21:22-23)

Instead of physical manmade temples filling the landscape, God is looking whole cities filled with the glory of God.With all that light, glory and reflective gem stone, imagine the kaleidoscopic colour such a spectacle would create…

 

A Truly Kaleidoscopic Church

That’s a picture of the heavenly future that awaits us here on earth. However Jesus’ prayer is and always has been that his kingdom come;

‘On Earth As In Heaven’

Picture this: a city filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord through a kaleidoscope of observable, beautiful forms, a variety of new forms of church displaying the multi-faceted wisdom of God

Wherever you enter a coffee house, a park, university, arts centre, sports club, pub or bar, shopping centre, business district, school, community centre, nursery, building site, neighbourhood, government building you find a new form of church shimmering with the light of Christ


Just like the tube is turned on the kaleidoscope, every time a new people-group turns to Christ, a new pattern, shape or form of church comes into view as a result. And as more and more diverse people groups turn to Christ a rich mosiac of new forms appear across the landscape

These new forms are Organic; for the church to be effective in mission, intrinsic to its DNA must be an ability to constantly reinvent itself and not be locked into any specific shape indefinately. Also Essential to this DNA will be an ability to flow into any form required for the constantly changing mission needs of any time, place and cultural context. That is, these new forms must be Mission-Fluid.

Andamento is the word used to describe the movement and flow of tesserae (small stones, tile or glass used in the construction of a mosaic). What is needed is an organism that is always able to quickly change its form and flow endlessly; like a mosiac of new forms that follow the apostle Paul’s example of;

‘Become ALL things to ALL men so that by ALL possible means [we] might save some‘. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

These new forms of church have the rapid adaptability of a chameleon to fit into the ‘cultural colour’ of any given missional background…

They are mobile; this kaleidoscopic mosiac of church is a shimmering flux. These new forms of church must be mobile organisms, flexible and fast moving, like Guerilla warfare cells or revolutionary political activists mobilised around smart phone technology, online platforms and social networks..

They are numerous, multifarious, diverse, eclectic and assorted resulting in an ever changing viewed pattern

These new forms are each designed to be different, but together form a kaleidoscopic mosaic of light, displaying the manifold wisdom of God found in Christ, so that the Gentiles might have a revelation of the eternal mystery, hidden since the foundation of the world;

Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

[Extract from forthcoming book, in dialogue and collaboration with Martin Bragger]

 

If you are working towards new forms of church amongst non-religious tribes then let’s connect…

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