From the Pastor
I used to watch the TV show “Mission Impossible.” I remembered that recently when I heard of another installment of the movie version due for release later this year. The TV show always began with the opening title sequence, played with that famous theme by Lalo Schifrin and the lighting of a fuse that burned while scenes of that week’s episode flash before our eyes. Then Jim Phelps would get his instructions for the mission from a tape recorder. The recording would have the same disembodied voice with the same invitation. “Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it…” Then the tape recorder would self destruct, or Jim would throw it in an incinerator. The entire remainder of the show was dedicated to the unfolding of the mission, where the good guys would overcome the impossible to befuddle, humiliate, anddefeat the bad guys. “Mission Impossible” was a fun television program and has been marvelously updated for the big screen. But it’s a lousy way to think about the mission of the church. As St. John’s gospel tells it, there’s no mission of the Church for Christians to “choose” to accept. The mission of sharing God’s love and promoting justice in the world isn’t for specialists or full-time agents of the Church.
All Christians, by nature of their connection to the risen Jesus through Holy Baptism (where they’ve received the gift of the Holy Spirit), are ALREADY part of that mission, realize it or not. Moreover, the mission doesn’t involve befuddling, humiliating, and defeating “the bad guys.” Jesus has ALREADY overcome the Enemy and everything that would overwhelm our faith! As seemingly impossible as loving on folks in need and working on behalf of a better world might at times seem, the people we encounter aren’t the Enemy. The only Enemy that matters has already been defeated. And we are not sent on our mission by the disembodied voice of someone far away from the action. Jesus, our Champion, bearing the scars of the battle he has won… He is with us and sends us out as his change agents.
This month our mission is, first of all, to experience the love of God and life for God that Good Friday and Easter Sunday bring. Our pre-Covid schedule of five Easter services is back! Come out and celebrate with us… or if you are out of town for family vacations during the break, be sure to add our live streamed services to your Easter schedule. We hope and pray that our Easter season Sermon Series on 1 Peter (“Blessed Are the Peacemakers”) leads you to consider the work of the resurrected Jesus in us and around us to bring peace where there is only conflict and brokenness. As April comes to a close, we look forward to seeing God send us out as His servants through “Operation Inasmuch” and affirming us in our faith together at our 8th Graders’ confirmation.
It’s easy at times to feel as if our mission as followers of Jesus is “mission impossible.” It would be, were it up to us. The good news is that the risen Christ has gotten us out of our comfort zones and into a world where we are empowered by the wounded, yet victorious Christ. We are privileged to change the lives of real people… and to be changed in the process. As this season of Easter unfolds, let’s look to the One who sends us on our mission, confident that he is sufficient for the task, though we are not.
Alleluia! He is risen!