the holy trinity
the PRAYER. . .
Almighty Creator and ever-living God: we worship your glory, eternal Three-in-One, and we praise your power, majestic One-in-Three. Keep us steadfast in this faith, defend us in all adversity, and bring us at last into your presence, where you live in endless joy and love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
[And Jesus came and said to the eleven,] “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.”
the DEVOTION. . .
The Great Mission Commission, they call it! And for the last generation, it’s been the panacea for a “dying” church. Jesus’ last words. His command to go make more! Baptizing and teaching to obey! That’s all there is to it! Simple as that! However, here at Midland Lutheran, we’ve just finished looking at one of Luther’s early writings. “A Brief Instruction on What to Look for and Expect in the Gospels.” And from the good doctor’s perspective, there’s one thing that’s played havoc with the church over the centuries … that ‘obedience’ thing. For some reason, we keep forgetting that faith isn’t about obeying; it’s about believing. Jesus isn’t a commandment, but a promise! Not an example; but a gift! And the church is here to teach the world, not how to obey, but how to believe! How to trust!
You see, Jesus is more than the second-coming of Moses. Laying down the law. Telling us what to do. In fact, if that’s all we think Jesus is – as the Brief Instruction points out – we’ve not even begun being church! God loves us! With all god’s heart! With all god’s being! We’re not about commandments (no matter how great). And we’re not about rules (no matter how golden). We’re about Jesus! About Jesus and the cross! On that – and on that – we have staked our lives a thousand times! And on that – and on that alone – we’ll stake our lives a thousand more!
Bob Barndt, pastor