What an inspiring passage for today, way back in September last year, the last time I spoke to St Mary’s a lot of things have happened, Wendy’s cancer treatment got a lot more involved than we were expecting, these times we are all experiencing now, who would have thought at Christmas, that by Easter the country would have all but closed down and we would be living a life in quarantine, that most shops, cinemas and theatres, hairdressers, and barbers, pubs, and of course church buildings would all be closed, working from home, being furloughed, or worse not having a job to rely on
What is normal these days? We are taking the first tentative steps back to normal, although there are those who are saying that the government are moving too fast or too slow to release the lock down, so, in these days what does this passage say to us. The is a great hope contained in these words, known as the great commissioning, this is Jesus speaking to the remaining disciples, after his crucifixion, giving them instructions to continue his work, throughout the world. Now this is a little insignificant part of the world, how can this message grow the encompass the whole world from 11 people then, to the billions of people today, and remember back then, they could not go viral on You Tube or the internet, there was no social media to pass the word on, it travelled from person to person, I suppose that there is a sort of comparison to these days, butpeople were infected not with a deadly virus, they were infected with the word and the love of God.
As a church we face unprecedented times now, and we have an opportunity, to as this pandemic eases and this start to go back to normal, what will be the new normal for our church. Is this the time for the proverbial new broom of change to sweep through our dusty old churches and now go forward clean and refreshed? It’s been interesting in this time to see how the church has adapted to bring the word of God to people, you have seen that church, as an establishment can actually change and adapt, who would of thought of that!
Although, the title of this passage is the great commissioning, I look to the final words Jesus says, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” this is the great promise, these are the words that Matthew choses to end his Gospel, these reassuring and impowering words of him who came to earth to be “God with us”.
We as a church need to, as government guidelines suggest, we need to keep the R factor as low as possible and well under 1, with regards to the pandemic, but wouldn’t it be good if we could by spreading the word and love of God, our churcheswould have an R factor of over 1 or more, we need to showthe love of God that is so evident in this world, I pray that this message of redemption, love and healing, spreads throughout our town, and country.
We have a song after this reflection called “I will follow”, is this a message to this church, by church I mean the people who assemble in the name of Christ, to go forward reenergised, to follow Christ into the mysteries of the future, to learn from the teachings of the past. Remember that our God is the same, yesterday, today, and for all our tomorrows.
So, church, and those who are listening to this reflection, who are searching for meaning in this word, what are we going to do? We have been given this commission, Jesus said in verse 18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.
Lay Pastor, Walton & Trimley