Monday, January 30, 2006

Mission in the Jesus Community

Why is the Jesus community here on earth when Jesus is in heaven? Jesus told his disciples that as the Father had sent him, so he was sending them. They were to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them. That he would send the Holy Spirit on them to empower them so that they would be his witnesses from where they were to the ends of the earth.

After the resurrected Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit came like a rushing mighty wind. The disciples spoke in the tongues of those Jews assembled from the then known world. Then Peter, filled and empowered with the Spirit spoke a message of explanation and from Scripture, calling on the hearers to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. About three thousand were added to their number, and the adventure of mission had begun.

With some noteable people included, Acts focuses largely on the ministry of Peter and Paul. Their's was an establishing preaching, teaching, equipping ministry. But others in Acts, such as Lydia, Priscilla and Aquilla, Phillip and Stephen, to name some of them (others unnamed who also preached the good news of Jesus), also had important mission in the world.

What about us today? Do we have the same sense of mission as the apostles and early Christians? Sure, their vocation was unique to them, and the apostles' and other's relationship to Jesus was special. It was certainly foundational. But not just in seeing the church established. But in being what God calls us all to be, in our own unique ways. We need to remember people such as Lydia to remind ourselves that each of us is important in this mission.

The same Spirit who empowered Jesus and who Jesus sent from the Father to his followers, is the same Spirit who is given to us by faith in Jesus. He is the same Spirit there to empower our lives and message to be a love letter from God to those all around us, our neighbors whom we're to love as ourselves (from the Jesus Creed).

God, give us no rest until we hear and answer your call for mission. Send your Spirit to empower our lives and lips to speak forth your praise into a world that needs to hear this good news of Jesus and your kingdom. Make our lives a love letter from you to everyone. Amen.