Bishop Ward reflects on the significance of Matthew 10:39 in our everyday lives, in our churches and in missions— “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
I have a friend in Louisiana who coined a new liturgical term that I like very much. He proclaimed that, for him, the second half of Kingdomtide, the season of green that began back in June, was better called “Missiontide” as we moved into the fall. I like his designation very much.
The texts in the fall lead us toward an examination of the ways in which we communicate out into the world, the saving, redeeming grace of Jesus Christ. The text for this next Sunday is from Matthew and it reminds us that if we are to follow, we are to take up our cross and follow faithfully; that we find our lives as we lose our lives. It’s possible to love our church too much – to love the building and the pews and the stained glass windows – to the neglect of those who are beyond our church walls. We love our churches because they are the mission stations out of which we reach into the world.
The communication task before us in every community is to project the message of God’s embracing love for all humankind, for every person, and as we proclaim that in our words and in our lives, many are drawn to the cross.
We give thanks for the ways in which we have found our own lives by losing them in service in the world. Whenever we engage with another person, the means of grace flows to us and from us. It goes round and round and round and we all are blessed. This is the great mystery and wonder of grace. We do find ourselves as we lose ourselves in mission.
And so as we move into Missiontide in these weeks to come, may the grace of God be yours as you find the courage to give yourself away, to give your church away into your community, so that the grace of God may be proclaimed and seen in every place.