Prayer 7:13 Prayer 713
North Highland United Methodist Church
Friday, February 23, 2018
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

May 2014

 
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.    John 20:21-22 CEB
 
In John’s gospel, Jesus appears to the traumatized, confused and fear-filled disciples on Easter evening. Though Mary Magdalene has reported her good news of talking with and seeing the risen Lord, it seems they feel safer locked away from the harsh realities of the world. I can’t say that I blame them, nor would I have been any braver or bolder!
Can you imagine the feelings they might have been experiencing? No matter what Mary had said, certainly their work had ended hadn’t it? Everything had changed; their leader and friend killed. Then suddenly in the midst of their disillusionment and despair Jesus appears among them with the greeting “Peace be with you.” And he says it again, then commissions them to once again go out into the world.
Earlier in John’s gospel it is written, God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17 CEB   (Here word judge equates to condemn and saved to healed.) And now on the day of resurrection Jesus breathes new life into the disciples and sends them--as he had been sent.
That seems to be a directive for disciples like us, though far removed from that first Easter—to be involved in the healing of the world as opposed to the judging of the rights and wrongs and personal “sins” of others. A current buzz word for churches is encouragement to be “missional churches”. A missional church is a church active in the world locally and globally to bring about healing, and in the United Methodist vernacular, transformation.
Last night with several others I attended the Salvation Army annual meeting and banquet, where North Highland UMC was identified as the Church of the Year. A community need was made known in the fall, and now members of our congregation go to the Salvation Army at the end of each school week to fill 105 bags with food items. The bags are then loaded into the North Highland van and taken to 5 different schools for distribution to children to take home for weekend food. There is no judgment of why the children need the food. It is given to them in the spirit of Christ.
May we know the peace and spirit of Christ among and within us as we join with the ancient followers of Jesus in keeping his presence visible in our world. And may we as a church grow in our efforts and desires to truly be a missional church for the transformation of the world. 
 
Peace and blessings,
 
Pastor Lou