The Joy of Mission

Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’

– John 20.21

We have celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and our God.  That leaves the question, “Now what?”  This is a question the disciples themselves struggled with.  They had the resurrection proclaimed to them by Mary on Easter morning and yet, that very evening, Jesus finds them locked in a room. They spent three years participating shoulder to shoulder in Christ’s ministry and three days after his death they are sitting in a locked room.  Only hours after hearing the good news of Christ’s resurrection they are sitting in a locked room.  It leads one to wonder, what was their plan anyway?

The first several Session meetings after my arrival we watched through a video series called “For the Life of the World”.  The title comes from wrestling with the question “What is my salvation for?”  Through the seven 20 minute films, various Christian leaders and theologians wrestle with how this answer “For the Life of the World” plays out in different areas of life such as family, work, order, wonder, and wisdom.  I find the message they convey instructive for us in the trenches of church ministry.  How do we work to exist for the Life of the World?

I had the joy of brief conversation with Rev. Graden Grobe recently.  He was ordained in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church in 1946.  71 years of ordained ministry later he still has passion for ministry.  He started in on telling a couple stories which had a point I didn’t realize until he was almost done sharing.  As he ended he said, “So I guess what I’m trying to say is…”  I didn’t let him finish as I cut in to say, “we need to go out to where the people are!”  Here, a man who has ministered through 13 different presidents and three or four major cultural revolutions, offers timeless wisdom.

This is the very thing Christ was saying to his disciples when he commanded them saying, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you”.  The very nature of God is one who goes out, who comes to us rather than waiting for us to come to Him.  As Philippians 2 says,  

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

Christ is sending us as individuals out for the life of the world and Christ is sending our congregation out for the life of the world.  May we heed Christ’s call.  In Christ’s resurrection, he has invited us into existing for the life of the world.  What a joyful call!  What a tremendous responsibility!  Let us enter this call shoulder to should as Christ’s disciples did all those years ago when they unlocked that door and went out into the all the world.

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Jeremiah Knabe