Monday, June 6, 2011

Missionary Witnesses

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24: 45-58)

This "tweener" week from Ascension Day to Pentecost is a celebration of missionaries for Episcopalians. Holy Women, Holy Men invites us to celebrate the lives of Boniface today, Ini Kopuria tomorrow, Roland Allen on Wednesday, Columba - Thursday, Ephrem the Syrian this coming Friday, and Barnabas on Saturday.

Each one of their lives witnesses to their desire to know Jesus the Christ's spirit of wisdom. Their hearts were enlightened with the Holy Spirit's hope as they undertook their Christian callings.Their works, miracles, and sacrifices revealed the riches of God's glorious inheritance as well as the immeasurable nature of the Creator's great power for believers who are working out the Holy Trinity's redemptive and reconciling power. (Ephesians 1:16-19)

I am pondering what their lives mean for me as I daily discern how God is calling me to be better preacher and proclaimer of Jesus the Christ's gospel. Most of this week's Holy Men departed from their communities of origin and traveled to other locations to offer Christ's compassionate grace to strangers and seekers alike. They abandoned wealth and political power in most cases. They used their talents to translate and preach biblical texts. They transformed the lives of the people around them, not through intellectual prowess alone, but by building caring companionships over extended periods of time. How might I understand their talents more deeply and devotedly through Christ's Grace and presence?

I'm not sure but I'm glad for each of their examples and writings. Today I will have coffee with someone's whose spouse recently died. I will counsel a young person who needs comfort. I'll draft the parish's weekly newsletter. At some point, I'll do laundry. What missional words and works might you offer? Each one of these and thousands of other similar moments provide opportunities for Grace in between the Feast Days for me and you to be missionaries. God used the saints' experiences, their failures, their victories, their prayers for the raising up of the Church and as a benchmark for all of us to continue to seek repentance and proclaim forgiveness to people in our surrounding towns as well as to faraway lands.

Blessings Along The Way,

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