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Called to do God’s Work

June 7, 2020
Bull elk walking down the road in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

This past Sunday Denise and I took our first drive into Rocky after evening worship. We saw this fellow along with two other bulls as we drove up the Bear Lake road. Obviously traffic came to a standstill as the Velvet Boys made their way down the road and onto the grassy area where they began grazing. As I watched this fellow walk down the road towards our car I saw the determination in his eyes. As we do the work God calls us to, shouldn’t we have the same determination as our friend here? We have been blessed with so many incredible encounters (from a safe distance and with a Zoom lens!) with our wild neighbors. When I recognize the same bull elk year after year in our condo complex or the same bulls hanging out at the golf course or at the church I feel a connection with these neighbors. It isn’t your typical relationship but it is incredibly rewarding.

Speaking of non-typical relationships, this is Trinity Sunday. On this particular Sunday in the church calendar we remember what is one of the uniquenesses of our Christian tradition. The Trinity has been a source of argument and confusion from the very beginning of the organized church in the Third Century (Common Era). Wrapped in mystery, the understanding of the Trinity has evolved over the centuries. Traditionally it celebrates the one and equal glory of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is a legend about Saint Patrick attempting to teach the Irish about the Trinity using a shamrock. The shamrock had three leaves with one stem.

Other language has been used to attempt to describe the three-in-one aspect of the Trinity. Traditionally it was Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Other names are: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer… Creator, Christ, and Spirit. No matter what terminology you use there is still the same mystery. For me, the Trinity speaks of relationship. God understands relationship and in turn models relationship to God’s creation.

While it can be both interesting and frustrating to discuss and plumb the depths of what the Trinity is, my focus today is on the call in Matthew 28:16-20. When Jesus gave the disciples their commission he also told them that the Spirit would guide them.

Last week in church we discussed Ruah (Hebrew for breath). We also examined the impact that the blowing of the Spirit had and continues to have on the church and on each Christ-follower. We can parse the meaning of the Trinity or we can listen and discern where we are being called to serve. I believe that is the focus of the closing verses of Matthew’s Gospel.

The eleven disciples were being commissioned to carry on with the work that Jesus had begun on earth. Go therefore… go therefore to teach, baptize, and share the Good News with everyone you meet. They were being called to do God’s work as followers of Christ and guided by the Spirit.

We are called to do the same. Sadly throughout the history of Christianity this commission has been misinterpreted and abused. Christianity was used to pummel our First Nation sisters and brothers in Boarding Schools in an attempt to erase any trace of their heritage (literally beaten out of them).

So what is our calling today as followers of Christ? For me that calling is contained in the command of Jesus and the Prophet Micah. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said—‘“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 neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ The prophet Micah said the following in Micah 6:8—He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Shouldn’t this be our commission and calling? A calling that is not only about ourselves and the individual salvation experience; but a calling that is about being, in the words of St Teresa of Avila, the hands and feet of Christ. I invite you to reflect on her prayer as I end this particular blog.

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

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