5. The Church’s Mission In John 20:21-22, Christ imparts the Spirit to his disciples with the mission: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” We may observe that: (1) Christ draws an explicit analogy between his own mission and that of his disciples; (2) his breathing upon the disciples alludes to the creation of humankind (enephusēsen; cf. Gen 2:7; Ezek 37:9 LXX); and (3) the Holy Spirit plays a role in the new creation and likely also in the mission. The new humanity is (re-)created by the New Adam and sent to extend his mission. Regarding the manner of his sending, the description of the incarnation in John 1:14-18 is useful for our purposes. The incarnation is characterised by: (1) embodiment – “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14); (2) presence – he “dwelt among us” (v. 14, eskēnōsen), literally meaning ‘tented’, alluding to the tabernacle, which symbolises the covenant presence of God; (3) manifestation/revelation – “we have seen his glory … full of grace and truth … [he has] made [the Father] known” (v. 14, 17-18); and (4) bestowal of grace (v.14, 16-17). These interrelated elements yield a composite but coherent picture of the manner and purpose of the incarnation: the eternal Word became an embodied, glory-bearing representative of God’s covenant presence who mediates the knowledge and blessing of God to the world. This portrait of the incarnation not only mirrors the preceding exposition of the imago Dei, but also provides a fitting pattern for the mission of the church: The church is called to be an embodied, Spirit-bearing representative of Christ, mediating the knowledge and blessing of Christ to the world.
Jenson notes that the body is one’s availability to another. “Persons are embodied for each other … If you are to address me, you must be able to find me, there must be some way in which we can come face-to-face. … There can be no drama without embodiment of the roles.” Weinandy comments on Irenaeus, “It is within our very bodily visibility (especially within our own countenance) and in our bodily words and actions (words and actions of compassion, kindness, and love) that we physically bear the likeness of the Son. Our likeness to God only then is manifest and enacted through our bodies in bodily speaking and doing God-like deeds.”
Performance of the imago Dei is conditioned on the embodiment of the likeness of Christ in his church through the transformation, direction and empowerment of the Spirit who is working to perfect the New Creation. The actualisation of such a role entails both communicative action and performative speech on the part of the body of Christ. It is as embodied Spirit-shaped world-dwellers that the church acts and speaks on behalf of and in conformity to Christ for the benefit of the world.
While ‘body’ speaks of presence and practical service, ‘face’, which Weinandy terms as ‘countenance’, speaks more strikingly of interpersonal relation. It is with “unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord” that we are transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18), and so prepared by the Spirit to present his ‘face’ (2 Cor 4:6, cf. v. 7, 10) to the world. The community transformed into the likeness of Christ is characterised by loving relation (Col 3:10-24; Eph 4:20-5:2). It is under these conditions that the church fulfils her role as “ambassadors for Christ,” a community of Spirit-shaped Christ-visaged persons who relate lovingly to one another and to the world, representing the appeal of God to be reconciled to him (2 Cor 5:20).
6. Conclusion Our study of the imago Dei under the tutelage of Irenaeus, Gunton and the biblical authors has led us to affirm human beings as embodied persons, gifted with a vocation to manifest God’s glory and represent him relationally and purposefully in his world. Such a vocation sets in motion a divine drama, in which the role of the imago Dei, played failingly by Adam but redemptively by Christ, has now been conferred upon the church. As the church community is conformed to the likeness of Christ by the Spirit’s perfecting work, she becomes the embodied presence of grace, manifests the glory-bearing face of Christ, and in this manner mediates God’s grace and truth to the world through loving relation and purposeful action.
 Jenson, 65.
 Weinandy, 21.
 See Vanhoozer’s appropriation of J. L. Austin (Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine [Nashville: WJK, 2005]).