Say I want to build a house (I don’t, Sue. Just sayin.’) I find a lot to build on. Then, an architect to make sense of my sketched (sketchy?) design. Then, a builder has to be brought on board who, in turn, gets a bunch of permits, schedules inspections along the way and hires a small army of professionals to tear up the building lot, taking down trees, leveling the ground, putting in all manner of essential things, like foundations and piping and other important stuff that will never be seen again. Then the lot fills up with piles of materials and machinery. Walls and windows, a roof, doors, and then a couple months’ worth of mysterious inside stuff happens according to the set of drawings, which are kind of like a Bible. At last, all the pretty stuff can be installed. And then! And only then! The end goal is achieved – a new house to live in, happily ever after. Phew!
The journey from initial idea to finished product involves a ton of what seems to be organized chaos, with setbacks, overruns, more than a few heated discussions (not us, of course! I mean the guys on site!), meteorological challenges, etc. Seeing the new house surrounded by beautiful landscaping with not a stray piece of building material in sight belies the crazy amount of effort to get it to that state. The satisfaction of all involved is a job well done, with contented homeowners now settling in.
We, the Church, are a complex, multi-faceted project, not unlike the one above. Jesus prefaced his giving of an assignment to his disciples with a bold announcement: “All the authority of the universe has been given to me.” Whatever he said following that, had to be something to pay close attention to! And it was! We still refer to Jesus’ next words as the Great Commission. “Now, wherever you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.” Matthew 28:18-20, TPT.
Later, Luke will record Jesus telling these guys that they would be his messengers – to the remotest places on earth! Acts 1:8, TPT. I think Jesus knew full well that it would take a massive amount of work to get them from where they were, all the way to completion. It would be easy, partway through this long-term project, to lose sight of the overall importance, the end goal, the final worth. Maybe that’s why Jesus instructed his friends, at the Last Supper, to regularly take two common elements – bread and wine – to remember him along the way as they labored, sometimes frustrated, sometimes weary, sometimes depleted, to complete the task they had been assigned. It was then they’d remember he was with them. And we’ll remember he is with us! We’ll talk more tomorrow at 10 AM, 4 PM. PD