1. The Image
Several years ago I was visiting a 24/7 prayer centre in Perth called The Furnace. It’s inside walls were plastered with paintings, poems and prayers and a table stood by covered with art supplies. I am not in the habit of drawing, but on this occasion I was drawn to pick up some pencils and sketch. That I began with a cross wasn’t very surprising, I have long desired to be a “prophet of the cross”; but it was what happened next that surprised me.
I found myself placing a red dot at those points on the cross corresponding to where Jesus was pierced, his head, hands, feet and side, the red spots represented his blood (John 19:2, 34; 20:20). Then I was moved to connect the bloody points with straight lines, the result appears as a prism. The diagram was completed when I drew white light proceeding through the prism from the left and emerging from the right in all the colours of the rainbow. The white rays symbolise the holiness of God, and the spectrum the glory of God. This transformation images a famous theological truth, “Holiness is glory concealed; Glory is holiness revealed” (Kaiser).
Cross-connect is first of all a statement about Jesus, the sacrificial blood of the cross is the means by which the hidden glory of God is made openly visible in all its beauty. The appearance of rainbow in scripture symbolises the triumph of God’s grace means over judgement (Gen 9:12-17; Ezek 1:28; Rev 4:3 cf. James 2:13). It is “the blood of Christ” which atones for sin and satisfies the justice of God so that the terror of divine wrath and judgement is taken away. No human being can bear to see “the beauty of holiness” until their conscience has been cleansed from guilt (Ps 29:2). The general spiritual thrust of the image is clear; but it has a more precise application for us today.
2. The People
As I continued to pray about the prism at the centre of the image I sensed that it had to do with a network across the city of Perth. This would not be a set of connections of a formal or organisational sort but one that God himself would bring about. The bloody points of the cross represent not only Jesus’ wounds, but those who bear in their bodies “the marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:7). These are men and women who know what it is like to have been “crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20) and who can authentically testify with Paul, “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:10-12 ESV). When the cross has thoroughly purged men and women of self-interest the Spirit can sovereignly bring them together in partnerships that can be entrusted with the glory of God.
Whilst Jesus himself is the hub for this networking, has concrete and specific ways of linking his people for practical service and cooperation. The common point of interest might be a geographical location e.g. Perth C.B.D., a type of ministry e.g. to the sexually broken; a particular ministry gift e.g. evangelists; a shared profession e.g. lawyers; a common call e.g. intercession; a joint sense of vocation e.g. marketplace transformation; unity of background e.g. African Christians, and so on. This is fairly straightforward at the visible level, but there is a higher spiritual level of integration.
3. The Spheres of Glory
In the mid 90’s Jesus revealed some things to me in an unusual way. At dawn on a hotel roof adjacent to the Iguassu Falls in Argentina I had a brilliant visual insight into “the mystery of Christ” (Eph 3:4). As I walked across the roof in every direction concentric circles in all the colours of the rainbow appeared in the cloud of mist surrounding the hotel. Most extraordinarily these spheres of colour seemed aligned with my movements. After a while I realised what was happening, my body was functioning as a prism refracting the light of the rising sun the cloud where the dispersed rays produced circles of colour. This was an image of how the glory of God in Christ comes through the prism of the cross, and has become a call not only on my life but to see the formation of a network of cross-related people on the broadest possible scale. This relates to my second visional experience.
At the end of a week of intense prayer in West Perth the Lord placed Acts 3 into my heart, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time comes for the restoration of all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” (Acts 3:19-21 ESV). Then I had an awareness of Jesus in heaven restoring order into all the spheres of life and culture; politics, the arts, media, law, science, education, business and so on. I had never considered these as spheres of ministry before, but with time the biblical connection to my roof top encounter was made plain.
In Ephesians 3 Paul describes his apostolic ministry as one of illuminating the mystery of God, “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (3:10). The rare word for “manifold” is related to the term used for Joseph’s “ coat of many colours” (Gen 37:3); as Joseph brought Christ’s glory into the court of Pharaoh, the Church has a vocation to bring the many splendoured glory of divine wisdom into every part of society. This has to do with restoration in the workplace.
4. The Whole Earth is Filled
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14 ESV). As Christian men and women bring the wisdom of God in Christ into every sphere of work and life the glory of God is manifested. As through Joseph of old, such wisdom deeply penetrates and transforms every strata of society (Gen 41:37-46). This is a vision that brings heaven to earth.
The book of Revelation acclaims, “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they reign on the earth.”” (Revelation 5:9-10). The eternal worship of the Lamb makes its presence known on earth through the ministry of all the redeemed as kings and priests wherever God has called them. Exactly what this means is spelled out more clearly towards the end of the Bible; “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations.” (Revelation 21:22-26 ESV).
Heaven has no need of the physical wealth or temporal achievements of the nations, the glory and honour brought into the eternal city is the offering up of people’s lives to God (Rom 12:1-2). As men and women TODAY offer up the service of their lives to God, especially in the workplace, they acclaim and share in the worthiness and wisdom of the Lamb of God. It is at this point of voluntary sacrifice for the saving of others that the holiness of God passes through them as a prism and becomes a radiance filling their sphere of influence. With time, this same radiance, elevated and perfected, will fill God’s celestial temple with every created hue. The wisdom of Christ exercise in the realm of work is a revelation on earth of the worthiness of the Lamb. This is one with the purpose for which we were created.
5. Facing the Obstacles
This vision is clear and biblical, but its implementation faces several interrelated barriers in the Church today. The reformation required to shift the thinking of most pastors from the activities and programmes of the gathered Church (Sunday) to the presence of the glory of Christ in the workplace (Monday-Friday) is immense. Allied with this most Christians have been kept ignorant as to the sacred trust and holy calling God has imparted to them for their working life. When is the last time you heard a sermon on work? The Spirit of God is seeking to bring about a massive shift in Christian culture of a greater scale than at any time in Church history. One of his instruments for achieving this is the internet.
6. cross-connect.net.au: A Virtual Connection
The cross-connect website is a small attempt to use modern technology to facilitate God’s plan to disciple nations (Matt 28:18-20). We believe that in every city Christ has called and gifted men and women to bring the light of his presence into every dimension of life and culture. As a platform for facilitating connections and disseminating information, teaching articles, prophecy, poetry, prayers and so on, cross-connect aims to enhance and assist the efforts of the Body of Christ in Perth to fulfil his vision to reveal the glory of God in every sphere of life. We see this is living true to how Paul describes the nature of the Church in Ephesians, “And he (God) put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23 ESV). In this way cross-connect aims in a small way to make a grace-filled contribution to “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:20).
In accordance with the vision outlined above we welcome contributions from across the Body of Christ which are Jesus centred, Spirit honouring and seek to serve the kingdom of God. This site has no denominational affiliation nor does it align itself with any particular Christian spirituality. Dialogue is appreciated and we seek suggestions for ongoing improvement.