Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What is the mission of the church?


The Mission of the Church is the mission of Christ.

In its discernment of its worldwide mission the Anglican Communion has articulated Five Marks of Mission:

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
To teach, baptize and nurture new believers [that is, to make disciples].
To respond to human need by loving service.
To seek to transform unjust structures of society.
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth [that is, to take care of the earth that God has made].

Recently an Episcopal church in Berkeley boiled down its mission to a handful of words: to be the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Because we are the body of Christ – we the followers of Jesus – we are the heads and hands, hearts and voices, he has to continue his mission. And that mission is to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of peace, that peace that is the reign of God, and to begin to live it out and show it, witnessing in our words, and in our lives, our worship and our work, to the presence of God.

How do we fulfill that mission here, locally, as God’s people, called together in Edmonds? To whom is God sending us? And whom is God sending to us?

These are the people of God’s sending: people who hunger, with the same hunger we have, for a taste of the living bread, the communion of the kingdom, people who thirst for righteousness, that is, for a right order of things.

Who are our neighbors? We know that the 40,000 residents of Edmonds have an average age of just over 45 (2010 U.S. Census), and we know that people come here to live, work, and raise their families – and to enjoy their retirement.

What do we have to offer them? First of all and most of all we have the presence of the redeeming gift, the living Lord, who is present in the word proclaimed and understood, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers, and in our going forth to the world God made, and, having made, saw was good. We invite people to join us in the rest of the Sabbath, and in the rest of the week to carry forth with them the joyous news of our Lord.

Creating, redeeming, sustaining, God is at work in the world.

We are sent – to proclaim. We are charged – to serve. We are invited – to rejoice.

Let us rejoice together in the gift of life. Let us celebrate together in common worship. Let us go forth together in the one Spirit, with a common purpose: to bear the word and be the good news of Jesus Christ, in this time, in this place, to the people whom God has gathered here around us.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.  Amen.  (Ephesians 3:20, 21)

For the Gospel Grapevine, parish newsletter of Saint Alban's Episcopal Church, Edmonds, Wash. September 2012. 

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