Welcome to Outlook1
Outlook addresses all readers, from church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or without religious affiliation. Our focus is the significance of the Christ event for all history. Our purpose is to facilitate a common — but not institutionalized — witness to the import of that axial event.2
To appreciate the meaning of the Christ event, it should be recognized that “before” Creation God led a solitary self-existence. Because he longed for shared relationships with others, “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1) God decided to create a universe that would include human beings. However, since he was alone, it was necessary for God to initially create by command, possession and power — all contrary to reciprocal relationships. Yet in his desire for mutual relationality, God also granted free process for nature and then the gift of free will to mankind. Nevertheless, God’s necessary use of command, possession and power led to a created order of dominant/subordinate relationships along with disaster, death and extinction.
Faced with these predicaments, God determined to bear the negative consequences of Creation through his own human manifestation as Jesus Christ. In his life and ministry Jesus bore — and sought to reverse — the burdens he had unavoidably imposed on Creation. In his death he initiated the termination of the old created order. And because of infinite grace, in his resurrection he inaugurated a new “human” order of relational co-existence, of free and loving equality, of positive free will, and of life eternal.
Now the Human One, who is relationally present with all humanity (Matthew 28:20; John 1:9), invites Creation to recognize his submission to cosmic judgment (cf. John 12:31, 32; 16:8, 11; Philippians 2:6-8). Through the gift of his grace, he calls for “others” to act as witnesses on his behalf before the court of the universe. As wise men, shepherds, and Simeon and Anna in the Temple, were representative witnesses at Christ’s First Coming (Matthew 2:1, 2; Luke 2:8-21, 25-38), so we are called to be representative witnesses in anticipation of his promised Second Coming (parousia) (Acts 1:8; cf. Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1). It is therefore time to celebrate the imminent full, final and irrevocable liberation of the Creator and his Creation from all suffering.
One-and-Only God, you are our Creator, Redeemer and Friend. Long ago you decided to create the universe, this world, all life and our humanity. Since you were alone, you necessarily acted initially by command, possession and power. Meanwhile, you granted Creation the freedom to respond both negatively and positively to your purpose. As a consequence, you have long witnessed good and bad, light and darkness, joy and sorrow, life and death. Yet in justice you accepted full responsibility for your Creation. According to your promise, you acted in love to become human, to bear the burden of all Creation, and to stand in judgment at Calvary. In the judgment of your death, you bore the burden of Creation to the grave. And in the judgment of your resurrection, you brought forth eternal faith in, hope for and love of a new and everlasting Creation. Now we choose to be your witnesses, to acknowledge your burden, to recognize your infinite sacrifice, and to celebrate your imminent transformational appearance according to your promise. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)!
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— Worldview Publications 3
- Last revised September 2011. (go back)
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- Permission to photocopy, fax or otherwise electronically transmit Outlook issues in unexpurgated form is hereby granted. Passages may be quoted within limits of “fair use.” Reprint permission is available on request. Unless otherwise indicated, the author of Outlook material is Jack D. Zwemer, D.D.S., Ph.D. (1924-2017) — scientist, academic, and then Episcopal lay theologian and editor/researcher for Worldview Publications. (go back)