Sunday, 1 June 2014

Go as you are

Sunday Gospel  - Matthew 28:16-20 


The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

It's Matthew so it must be the (now) Eleven. It doesn't mean that only they were there, any more than only they were there at the Last Supper. But imagery is important; the infant church will begin by following in the footsteps of Jacob's sons. 

And like Jacob's sons, they remain a motley crew of eager yet nervous, unsure yet faithful followers. And if there is no other reason for reading scripture it is this one; to realise that God's people have always been a doubting, meddling, anxious, cowardly, hesitant, wrangling lot. Which is why they are God's people - knowing they wouldn't get very far on their own.

And that God wouldn't have it any other way.

It's Matthew, so there must be a mountain - a ancient meeting place of the Divine and humanity. This time there is no bright lights, no unearthly voice, no ancestral fathers, no time to make a tent. There is - only Jesus. 

And Jesus tells the disciples that that he is enough. That they can keep all their faults, their feelings and their failings because he is enough.

How subversive is that? That you are good enough to do God's work - just as you are? 

You can barely scroll through a few internet pages without getting '7 steps to success' or '5 ways of winning'  or 'Tips to the top' - all intended to create a desire for a life, lifestyle, relationships or career that is all about the better us.  

And it is a sad truth that we have churches filled -or rather not filled -  with exclusions and exceptions. That we judge others and continue to judge ourselves. And that now churches are developing marketing strategies and training people to be the 'new' face of evangelism. 

Surely, it's more important to be the 'true' face of evangelism? That it's only our hearts that matter. That it is our flaws, our vulnerability and our compassion that deny us the opportunity to look the other way. It is our love for others that offers others hope. It is our example of who we are that brings others to where they want to be. And never without Jesus.

I am often confused by people who anticipate the  second coming when we are already blessed with 'now here'. This Gospel reminds us that Jesus still maintains the present tense.That he, his Father and the Holy Spirit are the constant ones. 

In baptism, we turn to them in love,

and they are already there.

Until the end of time.


wordinthehand2014








2 comments:

Claire Bangasser said...

Very good, Word. Many thanks,

Gelli Ma said...

Thank you, Claire :)