Monday, July 4, 2011

Fine speeches

If we heard it last week, we have been sent to all the nations starting with our nearest neighbour. We are to go into life, and as we do, we are to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to baptize them and to teach them everything that he has taught and commanded us. Here is the ‘kicker’: we are all sent. Every last one of us. It’s not if you want to participate but how you will participate in the name of the Lord Jesus. It is a command after all. Either you do it or you don’t. Let’s keep in mind though that making disciples and building up churches is a life’s work. My children have been teaching me this. There are lots of moments when our children will look at us and want to know that God is there and that God will look after us, no matter what lies ahead. Nova and I consistently reassure them that this is true and as we go, we will see and know him. We will know his promises and how he has been faithful both to his promises and to us.

Maybe last why I like hero speeches in movies. That is what in some sense Matthew 10 is. It is a speech of a hero – even before he is truly tested in battle and found to be a hero. There have been things that might point to who and what our hero is – but the full evidence is to come.

In sending the Twelve, Jesus has called those whom he wants to send. He has picked those people to be his “sent ones” and has given them power and authority for ministry to preach and teach, to heal and to set free those who are bound by evil. To these sent ones he gave specific instructions on how to go about ministry. Jesus told them to go and go quickly to each town along the way and declare the kingdom.

I often hear people say that they don’t need to hear about the kingdom. I’m told that everybody knows know about church and they can be good people apart from the church. They do need church as part of their lives. I would acknowledge this as all true. People don’t need the church to be good and have good lives. They can be very moral people and never set foot inside the doors of a sacred building. But here’s the rub: God does look for good people. God looks for those who desire him and want to be with him. God will reach out to those who wanted him and need him. God will rescue those who are in peril and are ready to perish. These are the people that God draws into the kingdom, regardless of who they are or what they may or may not have done. But then this brings a question to the Church, “Are we ready to make speeches and to act to draw others into the kingdom?”

Jesus points out that to the apostles that they are going to faced with opposition and rejection. Not everyone is going to like their message. Not every person is going to be ‘wowed’ by a fine sounding argument. When you are rejected, walk away and leave the dirt behind. Leave it all behind. It is for you that you do this so that it does not consume you as you move on.

We are sent by God through Christ to active sign and proclaim the kingdom in this place. People need to see that the God is not the gods of this technological age and culture. God shows that he is faithful to his promises and therefore is faithful both to us and to his word. God provides what is needed at the right time for those who need it. And in that same vain we are meant to come and participate in the missio Dei. And if you think you cannot go than give; if you cannot give then encourage; if you cannot encourage then pray. There is something that each and all of us can do to respond and participate in his great commission. That way, please God, the world might know the life, the freedom and the peace we all so badly desire but cannot find. Let it be found in Christ and in his Church. The time for fine speeches is over, its time to act in his name.

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