Written by Haddon Willmer

Being  ‘sent’ (mitto, missio, Latin) and having a mission is not restricted to a limited number of religious, or military personnel.   All human beings, in one humanity are sent by God. Our mission is co-extensive with our whole life.

The human mission is summarised in three pictures in Genesis 1.26-31.

Being created in the image of God does not set us up to strut around like little gods.    Rather we are sent to image God in and for the world.  (D.J.Hall, Imaging God).   The image of God is not our possession, but our life-task.

Be fruitful and multiply – produce new and richer life, to the point of filling the earth – but not overfill it, as it seems we have done.   We do not have to fill the earth with ourselves, for we do not want to get in the way of the earth’s being ‘filled with the glory of God’.

Humanity is charged to have dominion over some parts of the earth.   We have work to do in, for, and with, but never against,  the earth.  Dominion as given and modeled by God is loving care, (stewardship)  not exploitation.   Restraint is built into this dominion: consumption is limited to green things, and they are to be shared with other animals.  The beautiful tigers remind us this story is symbolic, yielding principles not a complete rule book.   It is part of the task given to us to find and respect lines of restraint that are practicable now.   End fossil fuels and deforestation.

This story does not explain how the world began.  Rather, it speaks to questions pressed on us as we find our little selves in this big world:   What does the world face us with?   Who are we, and who are we to be, given that we are very much here?  These are practical now questions.

Written by  Haddon Willmer