May 21, 2020
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. Jesus is taken up to heaven to mark the end of his earthly ministry. Matthew’s Gospel concludes with Jesus saying to his disciples,
‘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 commandments I gave to you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’ (Mt 28:18-20)
This is known as the Great Commission establishing the mission of the Church on earth.
Scholar Daniel Harrington says the Great Commission is a summary of the entire Gospel bringing out its most important themes:
1. The Father has given Jesus supreme and universal authority
2. Jesus’ disciples are to share the good news with all people
3. The spirit of the risen Jesus will guide and protect the Church until God’s plan is fulfilled.
What does this mean for us as we begin our transition back to face-to-face-learning?
Isolation has been a challenge. The depth of the challenge may be grasped if we consider that to be human is to be a unity of the many relationships bringing us to life. The flourishing of our body is the relationship of our physical, chemical and biological capacities. Our relationships with others and creation evokes our wondering, questioning, defining, knowing, testing, choosing, acting, committing and loving capacities. The loneliness of isolation may tempt us to forget who we are and what we truly need. May the gradual return to classrooms offer encounters witnessing the truth, beauty and goodness of being connected.
Isolation has been and always will be a challenge. Many suffer through loneliness and feelings of abandonment. The disciples of Jesus are called to seek out the lonely and offer them the friendship of Jesus – the friendship that is the gift of the fullness of life. We should never forget the Greatest Commandment is to love. To love God and our neighbour is have life and have it to the full. Jesus’ Great Commission, at this time, may say to us:
1. The Father has given Jesus supreme and universal authority, so the law of love commands obedience in the Kingdom of God. May SPC obey love in all our doing and teaching.
2. Jesus’ disciples are to share the good news with all people, so the dignity of every person is at the heart of our relationships. May SPC respond to the dignity of every person in all our doing and teaching.
3. The spirit of the risen Jesus will guide and protect the Church until God’s plan is fulfilled, so even if we fail at times, God’s mercy and grace will give us the courage to endure. May we have the courage of God’s truth and love in all our doing and teaching.
We join with St Paul to pray
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. (Eph 1:17-19)