I know these posts are pretty heavy for a merry, happy Christmas season. But, this is just where I am right now. After 8 years of serving as the Minister of Sacrament and Word, Louis won’t be behind the pulpit at Third Church Petersburg every Sunday. This 98 year-old church is closing effective 12.31.2011. A year ago, my job ended. We have really been seeking what God has for us. In this search, I think He is revealing to all of us….He has so much more! He is going to birth something new!
In yesterday’s post, Incarnation, I wrote about why Jesus was sent to Earth….
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Moving ahead about 30 years, Jesus appears to his disciples after He has risen from the dead. This is what He says to them…
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Moving ahead about 2000 years…if we call ourselves Jesus’s disciples, then this is for us as well, right? As the Father sends Jesus, He now sends YOU and ME…filled with His Spirit…to PROCLAIM freedom for those held in bondage of all kinds, to PROCLAIM recovery for those who are sick, and PROCLAIM the Lord’s favor. It is not good enough to simply feed the homeless, clothe the naked, or care for the widows and orphans, although that is all WONDERFUL stuff! Please don’t get me wrong. But, we, if we call ourselves Jesus’s followers, also need to be sure to PROCLAIM the name of Jesus while we care for the poor, widows, prisoners, sick, etc.
According to some recent studies, 83% of Americans call themselves Christians, or Jesus Followers. If that is the case, then why do we still have racism and prejudices? Why still starving people? Why are there still places in our country and our world without running water? Why are there so many injustices?
The following picture was found all over Facebook, but I think it really speaks to this topic. I’m not casting stones here. Louis and I continue to challenge ourselves on a regular basis. It’s not easy, and we have a long way to go. As we celebrate Christmas tomorrow, the First Coming of Jesus, let’s also challenge ourselves to work toward reconciliation with God and each other AND to bring the end of suffering, hunger, prejudice, thirst, injustice, and pain. Let’s be about the Mission the “Sent One” sent us on!
…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.