We are a visual people not given to abstraction so much as simple pictures with meanings. The draw to such is perhaps one of God’s daunting tasks/complaints: idolatry. Given the choice between worshipping a small hot golden calf versus the uncertainty of the invisible God (who just parted the Red Sea and led you out of slavery) we would all seem to prefer the cow (even now..what is the most recognized brands on earth? McDonalds. Cows..always cows.)
But there are good images and SPOKE is one of them. As a noun it is a part of a wheel of some sort (or rarely used of ladders). As a verb it is an action of speech needing filling with content (“or has always been” he spoke to his audience). Dictionary.com
I like both images/ideas together when it comes to Christ who is at the Center, or “hub” of all of God’s activity in the world. He is also described as the agent through Whom the universe was “spoken” into existence.
For now, let’s look at the easier of the two: the spokes of a wheel which (most often now) are a matrix of tensile wires that support that wheel which provides transportation somewhere.
The desire for some kind of “homogenization” within the Church at large misses St. Paul’s teachings in his letter to the Corinthians to be ‘The Body”. We are not supposed to be everything all at once individually, nor can we we no matter how many Christian bestseller books tell us how we can. It is okay to be lopsided and have a few strong gifts.
The hub or Center of our wheel is always Christ. That is clear. If you want to put anything else as central your wheel is going to go awry immediately and smash up. Only the true Center can hold and also anchor all the diverse places around the rim where we are called to live and have our being. Feeding the poor, social justice, language studies, gifts of kindness, evangelism, worship gifts of many varieties, missionary work, medical ministries, counseling, preaching, teaching, healing, ministries of presence, hospice care, academia, archaeology, singing, songwriting, intellectual pursuits, the arts, science…these are just a few.
These gain their tensile strength and point of referential meaning in relationship to the Center Who is the living and resurrected Jesus.
That they can often look opposed is only the illusion of distance because they may be on the other side of the rim. Thus we can see that things like environmental concerns, personal piety and evangelism can all find their anchor in Christ as the Center and not be in opposition at all.
The core matter is to focused on the HUB, which is Christ Jesus Himself, the Living One. Only He has the strength to bear all of those connections coming into Himself and to make each relevant to Himself. More importantly, as Paul says Christ is the life-giving head “from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” (Col. 2:19)
SPOKE has its root in the Word and actions of the God who speaks and has spoken. It is in the divine LOGOS (Christ) that the world in which we live life has its being: its beginning, its constant holding together and its ultimate consummation (Col. I.13-II.15).
The first point of “Theology” (Study of God) is that Christ is the focal point:
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself… ~Col. 1:18-20a (bold and italics mine for emphasis)
Thus Christology is the primary focal point of theology.
In our age there is not need to decry our current poverty. Let’s simply get to work.