Between Sundays for Week of June 5, 2023
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing 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. (Matthew 28:19-20)
This is the blueprint for every church mission statement, and invites us to consider how we teach about all that Jesus has commanded. Teaching is about more than issuing commands, it’s about learning in context, with plenty of opportunities to observe and practice. That kind of teaching and learning doesn’t just happen in the four walls of a church building, but anywhere and everywhere that God’s people gather. We can’t fully learn what Jesus is teaching us until we live it ourselves.
In that way, church is not a place but a verb. We are being church when we do as Jesus commanded, whether it’s a Sunday morning gathering outside in a town amphitheater for worship or a Saturday workday at Habitat for Humanity or visiting someone who is sick or hurting. The work of the church is about making disciples, who follow and share all that Jesus lived and taught.
This weekend, as we gathered for outdoor worship, we had flats of marigolds and imagined they are the church. Each flower started as a seed in the little tiny six-pack container, where it quickly became rootbound and now needs to be replanted. Everyone was invited to take home a little marigold, replant it into a bigger pot, put it in different locations – maybe on a windowsill or on a porch – or even plant it in a garden. Notice what it needs to grow and thrive, and share all of the places that these little marigolds share their joy in the world, wherever they are planted.
And think about the church – what we need to do what we were created to do: the work of making disciples. Where do we need to be planted? What nourishment do we need? Where might we bear fruit (or flowers) that change people’s lives?
If you didn’t get a marigold this weekend, there are a few waiting for a new pot in the church courtyard. Feel free to stop by and pick one up! And if you did get one, be sure to share how it’s doing.
The good news is that no matter what happens – with our flowers or with us – as we try to be faithful to all that Jesus has commanded, we are not alone.
Remember, I am with you always, even until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Together, we are the church, wherever we are planted.
P.S. Worship on Sunday was not livestreamed since we gathered outdoors, but you can find the podcast of the sermon here!
The final verses of the gospel of Matthew provide a blueprint for the church’s mission. The church is not a building but a people, gathered by God’s grace and rooted in God’s love, following Jesus, and sustained by the Spirit. What does the church need to grow and thrive, to learn and live all that Jesus commanded? Where does the world need the gifts of the church – love and forgiveness and healing and peace? Where might we as the church be replanted this summer?
This lovely hymn titled, “May the Church be like a Tree” by Pablo D. Sosa invites us to imagine all of the everyday places where the church may be planted and how we might be the church in the world.
While we don’t have any video of our own BLC musicians leading this song, we did enjoy singing it together during Outdoor Worship on June 4!