From time to time I remind myself and those given into my care that the Church doesn't have a mission. Rather, the mission has a Church! Christian communities are the delivery system for the mission of Christ.
The other name for The Episcopal Church is "The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society." We're taught that each member of this Church is a missionary. What is the basis for our work as missionaries? I don’t mean to be overly simplistic, but I believe the Christian mission has its basis in the Great Gift, the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission:
• The Great Gift (John 3:16-17) ~ For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
God’s greatest gift of Love surpasses all I possess, given not for condemnation but for redemption. The Gift of the Son of God to reconcile us to God inspires, empowers, and motivates us in the work of reconciliation he has entrusted to us.
• The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) ~ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Jesus' summary of the law is the guide for our words and actions. Everything else depends on these two commandments, like a door depends on its hinges. Demonstration of love for God and love for our neighbors are the highest values of the Christian’s life.
• The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) ~ All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Jesus gave this commission to the Church. It is his intention for us to be united in his mission to be and to make disciples for the sake of the world.
How are we doing, Jesus?
I'll see you in Church!
The Very Reverend Ronald D. Pogue
St. Andrew’s Cathedral