Sunday, 11 June 2017

To the End of the Age

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28.16-20)

Astonishingly ambivalent reading, as Matthew notes that, even as Jesus prepared to return to heaven, "some doubted." But doubted what? That it was really him? That he had really died? That he had really been resurrected from the dead? Or that they should be worshipping him?

The disciples were devout Jews. They knew that the Lord God was one. To worship Jesus would be to accept there was more. That Jesus - the man they had eaten with, laughed with, walked through Judea and Galilee with; the man they knew had died under the terrible authority of the Roman Empire - was God. That God was more complex, more dynamic than they had ever dreamed.

Jesus said, "all authority on heaven and earth is given to me." Here in the UK we've just had an election. Theresa May looked for the authority to approach Europe in a way of her choosing. And the people have said, "we don't think so." All earthly authority is temporary - in democratic societies we limit it through elections. In dictatorships, God limits it through death.

Jesus's authority is in heaven and on earth. So it's unlimited, eternal. But the disciples aren't to go out as a conquering army. They're to go out, and baptise in the name of Father, Son and Spirit.

Baptism is a sign of death - of the water of death that closes over all of pour heads, even Jesus's.

It's a sign of life - of rising up. Of the water that brings us life, that waters crops, that can make flowers grow even in deserts.

It's a sign of the Holy Spirit - that Holy Spirit of God who calls us before we know, challenges us, breaks our hearts and fills us with God's love and power.

And it's a sign of love! As we baptise into the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we bring the one baptised into the family of church. But also realise that they are caught up in the love that flows from God the Father to the Son, that flows out to us in the streams of the Holy Spirit - a love that is always moving, always hoping, always forgiving, always giving.

And through growth and struggle, through times of joy and times of trouble, through life and death, Jesus is with us! Today, tomorrow, until the world comes to an end. He is forever alive, forever our God, forever the one that loves us. Until the end comes, the world fails, the things we held onto fall away, the false lights become shadow, and there is only one thing left to hope on. Jesus, who is with us always. To the end of the ages. And forever.

1 comment :

  1. Brilliant Trinity Sunday sermon.....thank you Archdruid


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