God in covenant with his people in his creation

I recently finished reading Dr. John McKenna's book, The Great Amen of the Great I-Am (subtitled, "God in Covenant with His People in His Creation"). Though not an easy read, much is gleaned by following John's careful application of Trinitarian, incarnational, Christ-centered theology to understanding the covenanted relationship of our Triune God with all humanity - what John calls the Biblical Covenant Relationship (BCR, for short).

John surveys the Bible with a focus on the Old Testament - Exodus in particular. Like Ray Anderson (click here for my post on Anderson's book, The Soul of Ministry), John sees in Exodus the theological foundation for the Pentateuch (and all the Old Testament) - including the Genesis accounts of Creation and Fall.

John highlights Ex 34:6-7, which he calls The Little Credo of the Great I-AM. Here God, having revealed himself in the gracious, creative act of delivering Israel out of Egypt, declares with words his identity: "the  LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, abounding in love and faithfulness" (34:6b).  This revelation of God as the loving, compassionate God of all grace, comes to Israel at her worst. She has descended into rank idolatry in the incident of the golden calf, yet God will not let her go. Indeed, it is at our worst - in our abject "nothingness" - that God, the compassionate, loving and always faithful one, makes of us, "something out of nothing."  We see God act in this gracious way time and again in Israel's history, and then in the history of the church. Throughout, God works to re-create and thus to save humanity in covenant with himself. God always does what God truly is.

I encourage you to read John's book. It has helped me more deeply understand and appreciate who God is for us, and how the triune God has made with us one covenant. He has worked out this covenant patiently and persistently - always with love and in grace. That work has expressed itself in various ways at various times with various people. But always the one God, who is Father, Son and Spirit, works for the salvation of humankind in covenanted relationship with himself. Thanks John, for this book!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the post Ted. You are right that parts of the book are not an easy read. I often read sections several times until the meaning became clearer. Yet there are other pages in which McKenna’s poetic bent shines through. As always, his intent is not the exchange of knowledge per se, but to point to the Divine Reality and New Creation we are graciously included in. Below are excerpts from pp. 377-378.

    He has created His union and communion as Himself for us so that all mankind might know that for which we are intended. It is the purpose of this intention that we feel when we feel the weight of His Glory upon our lives. It is the love of this intention when we know we are forgiven. Yes, we are made to breathe the air that surrounds the earth. Yes we are made to be successful in this world, to enjoy the resources of this world, to be rich in life as children of the Universe, but we are also made to worship Him.

    Only with the transcendent ‘breathing’ we find we do when we worship Him, may we take in the fullness of His Time and Space and Light for us, the freedom His Divine and Human Being and Becoming as our Savior, the Revelation and Reconciliation of His Father and His Spirit for us in His Name. With Him, we are not nothing…. We are free to be a certain something because He is free to be with us. Why would we want to imagine a world without Him? Why would we not want to imagine His New Creation?

    We are painters who would intend to create images that picture some truth of the Great I-AM with us. We are poets who would speak or sing of the wordy truths that belong to the One He is and not another…. We are humanity meant to serve in the great Temples of Science and Art and Theology. We are extra-ordinary wonderfully ordinary people in all kinds of walks in life. We belong to the past. We belong to the present. We belong to the future. We belong to the wondrous mysteries of time and space and light. We belong to hope. We belong to faith. We belong to love. We do no belong to a meaningless play, a theatre empty of purpose and devotion, to lies and phantoms of Truth and Grace.

    That which transcends our pains, our diseases, our lives and our deaths has touched our lives. We do not exist in endless cycles of repetitions that care less about our existences or seek to cheat us of what is truly immortal. We belong to the real meaning of freedom in this world. We are in fact grasped by the real meaning of freedom in our times. We do not live in the silence of an abyss that denies our existence means anything, but we know that the ‘nothingness’ of this world only serves as the great potential in Creation where all threats and condemnation are exposed as the lie they are.

    The Word of God has spoken. The Word of God speaks. The Word of God shall speak. He shall speak in His Freedom to be with us and for us here. Upon this knowledge, we depend. For this knowledge we are thankful. We are grateful to be free to go to the place where He has set His name that there we may do what is ‘Right’ in His Eyes. We are in the Hands of the Word of His Being and Becoming with us. We are His People. He has called us ‘My People.’ We are the people of His Priesthood. We are the people of His Prophecy. We are the people of the Wisdom of His Providence. We are the people of His Divine and Human Freedom. It is He who calls us in our time and times. It is He who teaches us to be free and to use our freedom in His Name. It is He who has come to give us His Eternal Life….

    Without you, I am nothing. Yet with you, we are your people, the children who have heard the Grace of the Great AMEN of the Great I-AM… (Pp. 377-378).

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