The Rev. Andrew K. Barnett
Today’s Gospel: John 5:30–47
Jesus said, “I seek to do not my own will but the will of God, who sent me.” Today, I’d like to offer reflections on God’s sending nature.
The author of John’s gospel writes to convey that Jesus is the Son of God. This is his primary goal. So it is that John’s Gospel portrays Jesus addressing crowds on behalf of God, and talking to God in public. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead “so that you may believe” (John 11:15) and performs many other signs that we are left to ponder at the end of the Gospel. Less for John and more for Luke, another central character is the Holy Spirit, often described with imagery like breath, fire and wind. Together these three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit make up the Trinity. And as we come to know the Triune God, one of the most important stories to tell is that God sends.
God sends forth the act of creation in a primal blur. God so loves the world that God sends his only Son, Jesus. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit, which is the activity of God in our midst. The Holy Spirit builds and sends God’s church. We might say that God’s mission has a church, which is more powerful than to say that our church has a mission.
God’s church sends us—you and me—into the troubled waters where the kingdom is not. It is precisely there, in these waters, that God calls us to build the kingdom of Shalom, which is a just peace for all of God’s children.
Friends, this is the Apostolic mission of God. It is to this work that we are called.
May we be sent forth by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in Jesus’ name. May we ever more fully become instruments of healing in a hurting city, nation and world. And may we enjoy the ride.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. (A Prayer attributed to St. Francis. BCP p. 833)