by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
For the next 2 weeks, we'll be talking and thinking about the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28.
The message that Jesus brings us is refreshingly simple, in that it's easy to understand: "Go and make disciples."
Obviously, it's not that simple, and here, too, interpretations of this text have split the church. Does our commitment stop once we've baptized people? What does it mean to make disciples? There's an infinite supply of answers.
Are we to make brand new disciples each and every week or are we to work on enriching the disciples that are in our midst? And regardless of where we fall on the spectrum of possible answers to these questions, God doesn't give us a quota.
How will we know when we're successful? There's not an easy answer.
The God that we see in our Scriptures is a God of action. We see God creating in any number of arenas. We are called to do the same.
This is not a God who saves us so that we can flip through TV channels. Our God is a God who became incarnate to show us how to be people of action: Go. Make disciples. Teach. Baptize. Keep the commandments. We do this by loving each other and God. We love not just by experiencing an emotion. Love moves us to action.
Our job is not done once we’ve baptized. Our job is not done with the Rite of Confirmation. Jesus, as always, points the way. Why not share a meal together? Why not do some work (fishing perhaps? Building housing for the poor? Weeding the gardens?) together? Why not pray together? Why not create a beautiful work of art together?
Our Triune God calls us to go and make disciples, but two thousand years of Church history shows us a delightful diversity of ways to do that. Theologian Frederick Buechner reminds us in his book Wishful Thinking: "The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Jesus promises to meet us there.