Read Matthew 28:16-20. What stood out to you in this reading of the text?
Thank YOU for your participation, Gina, and for your kind words.
Applying these Advent lessons to myself was a natural response for me. You and Amy encouraged me--and other readers--to think past myself and into outreach. Thank you!
I like that the author mentions that Jesus' message was one of inclusion. And that we are to teach this message of inclusion with words and also actions. As part of our church's racial justice group, it has been fairly easy to teach and share with words. In our congregation, at least, it is not hard to get agreement on words. But actions - that can be another thing. That involves really putting ourselves out there with introspection followed by change as we discern the need. Change can be hard. Change can be scary.
I saw this quote on a calendar I have: "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." (Goethe) Thank God for his promise of being with us always, walking along the journey with us.
And thank you, Ellen, for leading us on a journey of discovery, faith, and assurance during this Christmas season. I am very grateful for this opportunity to participate.
Thank you for your kind words, Amy! I have so appreciated your comments in the forum, as well!
I like the way you use the DNA/ancestry concepts to connect us to the eleven disciples. It's a bit of an honor to think of them as being on our Christian "family tree"!
I am not someone who knows a lot about my genealogy. It occurs to me, though, that those eleven disciples in today's scripture are our Christian ancestors. At Jesus' instruction, they have passed down the DNA of his teaching. They are in our spiritual family tree. We are blessed by them, despite their doubts and fears.
Thank you, Ellen, for your commitment to this forum and your leadership. Your encouragement and call to action have been blessings indeed.
Well, I must say that I was surprised to find today’s verses from the end of Jesus’s time on Earth. I guess I was enjoying “lingering by the manger,” as the devotional author cautions us. But, a long-term relationship with Jesus is less about cozy fireplaces and pretty presents and more about cold streets, mission kitchens, and outreach in uncomfortable places. In these verses, Jesus tells us to “. . . make disciples of all nations, . . . teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (19-20). That’s a pretty big order! It sounds a lot more connected to New Year’s Resolutions than to Christmas traditions.
It also sounds intimidating. I’ll bet that the disciples, who had recently witnessed their leader’s crucifixion, were scared to bits! Jesus must have understood that we would feel frightened of this venture because his last words included, “I am with you always.”
I sometimes wish that Jesus would have skin on now and sit with me and walk with me and talk with me in person. Can you imagine? If Jesus were here in person, I don’t think we’d be intimidated by much. Imagine how empowered we’d feel!
But, wait–isn’t that our job? As Christians, aren’t we supposed to be “Jesus here in person” for others? Isn’t that part of what Immanuel, God with us, means now? Isn’t that our foundation for claiming, “We Are Not Afraid”?