Missio Dei literally means “Mission of God.” Beyond its literal meaning, however, is a concept that is a theological cornerstone in the formation of our understanding of the essence of Creator’s “communal nature,” and thus our place in Creation.
Tiyospaye (Tee-yo’-shpa-yea) is a Lakota/Sioux word that translates “extended family.” Family is seen stretching far beyond the western notion of the autonomous nuclear family, mom, dad & kids; it goes beyond grandparents, aunties, uncles and first cousins to include the clan, village, tribe and people. Mitakuye Oyasin (Me-talk’-oo-yea O-yah-siò) is another Lakota concept that translates “All My Relatives.” It stretches the already extended family even farther to say that I am related to things above, things below and things all around. It says my relatives are those I am with, those who have gone before and those not here yet. It places me in relationship all human and non-human creation that exists within the mystery of God’s abiding presence.
In our postmodern era, among other things, Missio Dei highlights our Creators embrace, affirmation and high regard for diversity – the remarkable diversity of ALL human and non-human creation. Missio Dei is the overarching narrative that affirms God’s intention to speak into existence, from within himself as community, the existence of a Creation which is “radical community expressed through diversity.”
Within the mystery of God’s Oneness is His “Threeness” – the diverse inter-related community between God-the-Father, God-the-Son and God-the-Holy-Spirit. Before creation began God existed in diversity; we see the movement of divine love, co-equality, mutuality, justice, inter-dependence, affirmation, righteousness, Shalom, etc. When we see creation around the throne of God in Revelation 7:9 we see this same pattern – remarkable diversity – every tribe, tongue and ethnic group – standing in the cloud of God’s mystery worshipping together – radical community. The radical community of God expressed in diversity begins and ends the story of creation – this is God’s divine pattern confirmed in Jesus, “the same yesterday, today and forever.”
These gatherings will be part of a series of national pastoral and leadership seminars, symposiums and community-wide cultural celebrations over the next three years.
It is my hope that you will prayerfully make the sacrifice to join us for one of these “out of the box – into the tipi” historic gatherings. Become part of this emerging Missio Dei Tiyospaye to experience the Shalom of God as foundational for the spiritual formation of seekers of God. Let’s begin to envision – to look out into our increasingly radically diverse, multi-ethnic and religiously pluralistic world with new eyes of faith to recognize the Spirit of Jesus at work in the lives of people around the world.
Convener of the Missio Dei Tiyospaye