Tuesday, October 3, 2017

2017-10-03 [Month of Mission 2017] The power and reach of the King His Kingdom.

The power and reach of the King His Kingdom.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralysed, and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.      (Matthew4:23-25)
The Gospel writers differ slightly when they tell us about how Jesus' ministry began. Matthews says that it is after Jesus was baptised and after he spent a month and a bit on spiritual retreat in the wilderness. Mark agrees with him while Luke inserts the Nazareth rejection before Jesus' ministry begins proper. John marks the start at the wedding at Cana of Galilee.

Whatever the start was, the healing of the sick and the preaching of Good News was what Jesus did right from the start and that's what he was doing pretty much up to the time he was arrested. Healing and telling the Kingdom's story - that's what Jesus did.

Whenever I read the Gospel stories, I can't help wondering if the healings Jesus did were not simply his way of pushing back the fall (of Genesis 3), showing us the health and vitality we would have had if only we'd not strayed from Grace. It was the healings and the Good News he brought that drew the crowds.

500 years after the Reformation Revival, we find ourselves at a Spiritual crossroads again. The Good News is still powerful and healing is just waiting to break through. But the Reformation Church has become just as cumbersome as the Medieval Catholic Church and, again, the faithful long to be reformed.

Today, discipleship is what we hunger to experience and the Spirit is turning us toward the people of the world who have found no home inside the church.

When Pope Francis was a bishop in Brazil he addressed a workshop of priests: 
So I then told the priests: "If you can, rent a garage and, if you find some willing layman, let him go there! Let him be with those people a bit, do a little catechesis and even give communion if they ask him". A parish priest said to me: "But Father, if we do this the people then won't come to church". "But why?" I asked him: "Do they come to mass now?" "No", he answered.
And so! Coming out of oneself is also coming out from the fenced garden of one's own convictions.

(George Marchinkowski serves St Mungo's United Church in Bryanston, is married to Sascha and father to Leah (12) and Zoe (9). George enjoys helping the UPCSA explore how to be a Missional through the Project for Missional Congregations.)

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