By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
‘Missio Dei’ — The Mission of God
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. Send me.” – Isaiah 6:8
I’m writing this post the week before Holy Week… so… you should be reading this post during Holy Week… you know those last few days of Lent the Christian Church sets aside to remember the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection as Easter gets celebrated around the world. And oh yeah… Passover is part of those events as well… as is the birthday of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi… final Imam of the Twelve Imams who will emerge with Isa (Jesus) in order to fulfil their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world. That means many are celebrating God’s holiness at this time of year… especially the descendants of Abraham… as the old prophet Micah once declared… “But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously… take God seriously.” (Micah 6:8) Faith matters! For many!
But the Covid-19 umbrella is still hanging over our heads and many of us won’t be going anywhere this weekend and if we do there will be only a certain amount… just a percentage… allowed to don a mask and head to a house of worship. Temperature checks and hand sanitizer included… so many still wonder “what’s going to happen” when all this ends… and despite that reality… I’m reminded the mission of God never stops! If God is eternal, then the mission can’t stop! It always ebbs and flows and with each new season new steps unfold in a deliberate kind of re-shaping of the life God’s Spirit calls us to. Faith matters for God as well!
Think of it like this… Christians participate in the mission of God through every activity of life that expresses God’s creativity, sustains God’s creation, and cooperates with God’s redemption. The Church… CAPITAL C… including church-related organizations—is the one body exclusively dedicated to advancing the mission of God, so all Christians are part of the Church… and of course, while the Church itself is not the kingdom of God, Church work is the way believers go about tending to efforts that advance God’s kingdom as people of faith around the globe have a common mantra… to love God and love one’s neighbor. As Dallas Willard put it, ‘The church is for discipleship, and discipleship is for the world’.
Gathered in local congregations, Christians advance the mission of God through a wide variety of activities… feeding the hungry… visiting the sick… working for justice… just to name a few! Scattered into an amazing variety of workplaces, opportunities to advance the mission of God through daily work take place in every sphere of society. Anglican Bishop D.T. Niles of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) pointed out that ‘the Church is the only society which exists for the benefit of its non-members’. I really like that thought as Church folks do come into contact with non-members primarily through daily interactions with others in their neighborhoods and workplaces. Are you ready to be sent? Are your faith skills current or in need of being renewed? Here’s the critical piece … a serious shift for people like us in times like this… as Greg Forster said… “God’s mission is not primarily about getting people more involved in what churches are doing but getting churches more involved in what God is doing in the world.” It is what the Easter message proclaims… the tomb is empty… God is on the loose… as the mission of God keeps on asking… “Who gets sent?” Me? You? Both of us? All of us? All of the above. Yes… “Missio Dei”… the Latin phrase for the ‘mission of God’… where the hands and feet of Jesus have names and faces like yours and mine…
The Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches over the last four decades in Texas and Louisiana. Read more following Brian’s blog ‘murmurings’ athttps://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Send comments and/or questions to [email protected].