This Sunday at BLC
Sunday, June 25 – Third Sunday After Pentecost
Practice makes perfect – how many times have I heard that? From playing piano to playing soccer. To learn anything, you need to hear it explained, you need to watch someone who knows how to do it, but, eventually, you need to try it, you need to practice it. In lots of ways, discipleship is like that. It’s not a place we’re going or a thing to get – it’s something we do. We hear Jesus tell his disciples to “Go, and make disciples of all nations.” But that’s not the beginning of the story – it’s essentially the last thing Jesus does before ascending to heaven.
And this final commission is not the first time Jesus has sent the disciples out. In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus sends his disciples on a mission trip. At this point, in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus has taught his disciples through the Sermon on the Mount and showed them how to use his authority to heal and to forgive sins. Now, Jesus sends them to model what he does – make God’s kingdom known. In some ways, this first mission trip gives the disciples a chance to put into practice all that Jesus has taught and showed them.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus gives the disciples last minute instructions as they get ready to leave. He reminds them he was not accepted everywhere, and he was even called names and rejected – sometimes they will be too, maybe even by people very close to them. Yet, he tells them to have no fear, but to proclaim all he has told them. He promises God will never abandon them, but rather, their letting go of this life they cannot keep, will open them to a real life they cannot lose. And so, the disciples set off to do and practice discipleship.
Did they learn it? Did their practice mission trip prepare them? How did they do when they got the final commission from Jesus to “make disciples of all nations?” Sometimes, it’s good to remember the falterings and failings of the disciples – like us, they are human, they doubted, they denied, they often didn’t get it. Despite all that, we know, against all worldly odds, they succeeded because, two thousand years later, Christ’s Church is here and we are here, baptized children of the God.
Discipleship – we’ve heard the word a lot over the last few years. Like those original disciples, the words and deeds of Jesus are still proclaimed for us to see and learn from. Maybe now is the time for us to practice the doing of discipleship. The mistakes and failures, the doubts and fears – what will happen to them? Practice makes perfect – or maybe, much better, the Spirit of Christ, alive and within us, makes perfect.