Reading: Matthew 28: 16 – 20
On Trinity Sunday, God comes like a flat-packed IKEA wardrobe. Its three pieces have to
be crafted into its three dimensional use. This takes a lot of imagination and a giant leap
of faith to visualize a three-personned God. For two thousand years, the instructions
seem to have been written in incomprehensible Swedish. In that time, through councils
and synods, the Church sought to make sense of how different aspects of our Trinitarian
God fitted together, into an image we can use.
When alive, Jesus sought to explain his relationship between himself and Father God and
those born of the Spirit. The learned Nicodemus asked the question we may still ask:
“How can these things be?” Jesus questioned Nic. “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet
you do not know how to read the (Bible) instructions and use the Allen Wrench to help
you to fit the IKEA pieces together?” [John 3.9]. Jesus seemed to imply that someone who
had studied the history of God’s dealings with God’s people in the Hebrew Scriptures,
should be able to understand. Nic. owned that he knew of the Spirit of God hovering over
creation, but, what was this “being born from above” business? [John 3.11]. Nic. could
conceive of the first person of the Trinity, God the Creator. Then, God the Creator
became God the Father of a Son, Jesus. The Son loved the world so much that he became
God the Redeemer, and, at Pentecost, God the Redeemer became God the Sanctifier.
Poor Nic. needed a change from religion.
Nic. could accept Jesus as a teacher, even a prophet, come from God. But God’s only Son,
in a tri-unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was too much to conceive. God is not
separate IKEA pieces, but, an assembly of love. The Father, Son and Spirit are joined as
different dimensions of love, creating us, rescuing us and strengthening us in faith.
To build the wardrobe, we need all the parts. And, we need to have a good translation of
the instructions how to assemble. Our lives will be spent studying and following the
Bible instructions, keeping abreast of modern scholarship, if any modifications are
needed. We cannot leave our God in the flat-packed box, but must continue to build on
the call of King Jesus. Nic. thought he knew the Torah/Law completely. He just needed
Jesus' teaching to supplement his knowledge.
We can understand Nic’s worries. It took the Christian Church four great councils from
325 to 451 CE to grasp fully what Jesus was talking about as three-persons-in-one-God,
when he spoke of his relationship with the Father and the Spirit. Often in those
tempestuous days of sorting out theology, there was great tension. In 325 CE, the
bishops found to be off-side in orthodoxy, were excommunicated or deprived of their
episcopal sees. But, at the “Robber Synod” in 449 CE, at a pre-arranged signal, one
thousand hyped-up monks raced into the chamber and slew the saintly archbishop of
Constantinople, who held the orthodox view, unlike the archimandrite, who had incited
the felony. A subsequent Council of Chalcedon in 451, taught once and for all the words
of our Sunday creed. The three centuries of consternation had been over three words
“the only Son of God, true God of true God, begotten, not made, OF ONE BEING with the
Father.” In 800 CE, the Western Christian Church again added just three words to the
Sunday Creed. The former creedal words were “the Holy Spirit…proceeds from the
Father.” Full stop. The addition of “proceeds from the Father AND THE SON,” split half of
Christianity off to become to this day the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. By
comparison, Melbourne synod must look like a wowsers’ tea party.

The Great Commission “Go, make disciples of all nations” [verse 19], was the marching
orders that Jesus gave his disciple band after his resurrection. It was The Great
Commission and never the Great Omission. What was the prelude to the Commission? In
Matthew’s Good News, on Easter morning, a massive quake shook the earth, an angel
descended from heaven, rolled back the entombing grave stone and informed Mary of
Magdala and a second Mary that Jesus had risen as he said. The angel commissioned the
women to ‘Go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead; and he is
going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him”’ [Matthew 28.7]. Angel may well
have been a little more adamant, urging, “Mary, Mary, don’t be slow. Be like Phar Lap.
Mary, go!” Almost immediately, the hurrying pair cannoned into Risen Jesus, who
repeated “Go, tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” [Matt. 28.10].
Galilee was a safe house away from dangerously nasty Jerusalem.
Jesus had been born in Bethlehem, near Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph raised their boy in
Nazareth, Galilee [Luke 2.22-23]. He grew up in a secure home far removed from the
religious duplicity and the legal machinations of the Jerusalem Temple. Galilee was
called “Galilee of the Gentiles.” It was home to many Gentile folk. Thus, Jesus’ upbringing
in that northern clime was different from growing up in the more orthodox and less
tolerant capital. Galilee was where the original call to the disciples was made. Galilee
was a safe region, despised by proud Jerusalem and far from the clutches of the nit-
picking legalists who will dog Jesus’ ministry. Now, it was the place to mark the new
beginning, the “Great Commission.”
The testimony of women was not accepted in court, but, Jesus chose women to be
witnesses to his resurrection. Nor was it accepted among the disciples. In his Gospel,
Luke wrote that the women‘s dramatic revelation to them was rebuffed: “these words
seemed to them an idle tale and they did not believe them“ [Luke 23.11].
After his cruel death, Jesus knew that his team would be completely disoriented, their
hopes and dreams ruthlessly dashed. They had lost the One they loved in a brutal and
final execution and removal. In Matthew’s work, these disciples had missed the whole
Easter drama. They had not witnessed the resurrection; nor had they seen Risen Jesus
nor heard his voice. They possibly suffered from PTSD. In Galilee, in comparative safety,
Jesus could revive their hopes with teaching that will carry them to the ends of the earth.
At the women’s call, it took a large leap of faith to set out on the long walk from
Jerusalem to Galilee to an unseen future. Eleven disciples trudged north, mumbling “He
told the women. Why not us?” Was the women’s word true or an hallucination? The
eleven reflected on their number, lessened by Judas’ treachery. Their original number of
twelve correlated to the twelve tribes of Israel headed by patriarch Jacob, and his twelve
sons, headed by Judah. Luke added the elevation of disciple Matthias to make the twelve.
Where did the church leaders find this twelfth man? Was he orange-boy all along? Were
there more than the original band? Was there as many as 500, as Paul later wrote “Jesus
was seen by Peter and then the twelve (!) apostles. After that, he was seen by more than
five hundred of his followers at one time” [1 Corinthians 15.5-6]. Jesus will welcome the
eleven as an example of the imperfect Church to whom he will give a perfect revision
and eventual graduation “Go, make disciples of all nations” [Matthew 28.19].
Matthew 28, Verse 16: The disciples’ trudged north-wards from Jerusalem to Galilee
“to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them” Matthew’s Jesus used significant
hills for major events such as the Mount of Temptation, the Sermon on the Mount and
the Mount of Transfiguration. Mount Calvary was not his favourite choice. The trudge
north would have been the ultimate road trip, filled with long conversations as the team
tried to make sense of the mind-bending events that had recently happened and
wondering aloud about what might happen next.

Matthew 28, Verse 17: Reaching Galilee, suddenly Jesus met the team. Some
“worshipped him, but, some doubted.” How could there be uncertainty and doubt? The
team had been in his marvellous company for three years. They had seen his wonder-
working, heard his gripping stories, and viewed his power over life and death. He had
dinned all this into his knucklehead numbskulls, yet made little impact; some
dunderheads still doubted. They had simply not grasped his magnificent vision. For
them, at this stage, it was an impossible challenge then, to up stakes and to go personally
to make disciples. When the two Marys met Risen Jesus, they had impulsively taken hold
of his feet [verse 9]. Were they wrapped in worship or did they check for the tell-tale
nail holes? Do the male disciples want to believe their eyes, but, they are torn? Are they
like the traveller in Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken?” She or he, coming to a fork in
an unsigned bush road, has to choose a way, not knowing which fork would be the
better choice. “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence. Two
roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by. And, that has made all
the difference.” For the disciples, faced with a conscious decision to follow or desert him,
Jesus was the choice. They had the free will to take the easy, most popular beaten path
and clear out, or to sacrifice their ease by taking the path to be a pilgrim. “And, that (the
choice) has made all the difference.”
When the disciples met Jesus, alive again, they confirmed at once that he was the
Messiah. Earlier, when Peter was called to walk on water, he began to sink in fear of the
murky depths. Jesus reached out “You of little faith, why did you doubt? [Matthew
14.31]. But, Peter’s doubt did not preclude him from becoming leader of the team as
“Peter, the Rock,” on whom, Jesus will build his church. Even though some doubted,
Jesus did not withhold entrusting them with mission. In Matthew, this was the very first
sight of Jesus after death, which they had assumed had ended everything. It must have
been utterly astonishing. In John’s Gospel, the team had seen him raise Lazarus, but
nothing in their Jewish faith had seen someone raise himself. Was Jesus prescient?
Earlier, he had said of his hearers “if they don’t listen to Moses, neither will they be
persuaded if one rises from the dead” [Luke 16.31]. Jesus understands the disciples’
doubts, but still calls on them and on us to carry on his work. Risen Jesus chose to begin
again positively with less-than-perfect disciples; we can be confident that he reposes the
same trustful hope in us. Jesus chose ordinary folk to carry out his ordinary tasks extra-
ordinarily well. To them and to us, our ability is less important than our availability.
What is really prime is our follow-ability. As his contemporary disciples, we are
constantly directed to the place where the living Jesus will meet us. Shortly, we will find
our way back to Sunday church, to offer prayer, sing praise, listen to the word in his
presence, and take his sacrament. Surely, we won’t come just to see if he will keep his
promise to be with us always?
Matthew 28, Verse 18-19: ‘And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven
and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”’ This
basis on which Jesus will build his Great Commission command is the same as given the
women “Go and tell my brothers,” and “ go and make disciples” [Matt.28.10, 19]. Risen
Jesus doesn’t send the hesitant team to a sports motivator, nor an uncertain one to a
power of possibility teacher. Jesus simply says “Go, make disciples,” as we are, where we
are. The action of making disciples results from authority given him from on high. His
instructions to the team result from the authority he possesses. Authority means
absolute power over spiritual darkness. In raising Jesus from the dead, God
demonstrated power and authority greater than that of any human ruler, for, God’s
authority is omnipotent. Look at the words “Jesus came and said to them” [verse 18].
More commonly, a supplicant approached the greater one. As an example, the would-be
disciple approached the rabbi, seeking to become a follower. He sat at the rabbi’s feet

and listened attentively. He actually walked in the rabbi’s footprints outdoors. He
argued using the rabbi’s words as if they were his own. One day, the rabbi might still
decide his future with the words of dismissal “Return to your trade.” Jesus reversed the
roles; he overcame their hesitancy; he came to model how we must anticipate and reach
out first to implement the Great Commission with all others. Because of Jesus’ authority,
the disciples can be called to mission. The same surety that Jesus now reigns supreme is
all we need to follow the path which Jesus lays before us. Q. How are you faring? “God
gives us a future, daring us to go into dreams and dangers on a path unknown. Fear and
doubt and habit must not hold us back.” We are called to go into an unseen future
without any guarantee that anyone is interested and will listen. Nonetheless, the word is
“Go!” We have received the commission that Jesus shared with his team. The call to “Go”
may seem impossible, implausible, inadviseable. Yet, his claim on us is a kingly claim
over our lives. If we go, be of good cheer. It will be rabbi Jesus’ authority working
through us to make disciples.
Matthew has borrowed his notion of authority from the vision in the Hebrew Scriptures
Book of Daniel: “I saw someone like a human being, like a Son of Man, come to the
ancient One, and, to him was given authority (dominion) and glory and kingship, that all
peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting
dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed”
[Daniel 7.13-14]. Father God has given Jesus, whom Matthew calls “Son of Man,” what
the earlier tempter in the wilderness offered, “authority over all the kingdoms of the
world and their splendour,” but, which he rejected [Matthew 4.8]. Jesus chose instead to
cast his lot with God’s honest promise (the other was only a temptation). He received
more, not only “all the kingdoms of the world” but heaven also. “So that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sin-he then said to the paralytic-
‘Stand up. Take your bed and go home.” The crowds glorified God who had given such
authority to human beings” [Matthew 9.6-8]. In calling himself the “Son of Man,” Jesus
claimed to be the Messiah. This revelation was his undoing. Jesus knew that he had
“crossed the Rubicon.” At the kangaroo-court, when Caiaphas asked “are you the
Messiah?” Jesus shirt-fronted the high priest by answering with Daniel’s words: “From
now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power, and coming on the
clouds of heaven” [Matthew 26.64]. By freely ascending Calvary’s Cross, there Jesus
cancelled out the power of sin and death.
Once, we may have entertained a rebellious, sin-loving nature, but, by faith in his
victory, we now stand righteous. We are empowered to choose to live in unbroken son
and daughter-ship with Jesus and gain freedom from sin’s hold over us. Because Jesus
rose from death, its control, its dominion over us is everlasting. Even when death takes
someone, it still has no control, for the souls are all together united and at peace in
Paradise. Death cannot end human love in its entirety, for we will all be brought
together again. Borrowing from Romans 6.6, Welsh poet Dylan Thomas described our
rise to heaven: “And death shall have no dominion…when the bones are picked clean
and the clean bones gone, though they go mad, they shall be sane, though they sink
through the sea, they shall rise again, though lovers be lost, love shall not, and death
shall have no dominion.”
Matthew 28, Verse 19: “Go, make disciples of all nations.” All nations is a revolutionary
call. Jesus’ world was accustomed to settling national disputes on the battlefield, not by
diplomacy. Jesus’ call to “all nations” is breathtakingly wide. There should be now no
enemies, no outsiders. This demand of Jesus is a towering call, to see new neighbours in
the ones we formerly saw as “separated” or “other.” At the beginning of his Gospel,
Matthew led the way with inclusivity of outsiders. His Good News cannot be limited by
national boundaries [“all nations” verse 19]. He added Gentile women in his Jewish

genealogy of Jesus, Tamar with Rahab (both prostitutes) and Ruth, the great-
grandmother of King David [Matt. 1.3, 5-6]. He has foreign magi visit from the east and
includes stories of the healing of Gentiles, the Gadarenes and the people of Gennesaret
and a Canaanite Woman [8.28-35, 14.3415]. The Great Commandment is fulfilled by
living a life of love. It is fulfilled by letting our light shine, so that people may know that
we witness to the world something greater than what the world has to offer. “I am with
you:” that is, Jesus will use our mind, lips, and hands to do his work, to make him known
and loved. Thus, we must be a sign of compassion, forgiveness, and healing, a sign of
Christ in the world.
Alas, in seeking to follow the Great Commission, the Church has made tragic mistakes.
Let me tell one sad tale with relevance to Australia and China at present. Roman Catholic
Jesuits were a religious order founded in 1540. It takes three things to found a religious
order of priests, nuns or brothers, namely, an unmet need in the Church, a charismatic
individual who perceives the need, and a group of like-minded souls who follow the
leader. Jesuits were called together to “Go, make disciples” in lands worsted by the
Protestant Reformation, but, also to make inroads into new lands to make up for the
losses in the old. Jesuits staff Xavier College and Burke Hall at Kew. Jesuits had
penetrated China in 1582. China was almost completely self-sufficient. Jesuit
mathematicians and astronomers gained a valuable foot-hold by introducing calendars
for crop sowing and weather forecasting. The Jesuits followed an enlightened policy of
accommodation, that is, adapting Christianity to Chinese customs of ancestor worship
and retaining traditional rites in honour of Confucius. They also used the Chinese word
for God and dressed in local costume. They gained the support of the Emperor’s son and
many of the court, and a quarter of a million Chinese converted. In the 1630’s, fresh
from a 100% blitz, a “clean sweep,” of the Philippines’ animist religion and the
wholesale implanting of Christianity, less urbane Portugese priests arrived in China, and
were shocked by the “Chinese Rites.” They delated the Jesuit practice to the Vatican
mafia, and the rites were suppressed. Once the Emperor realized that a foreign power
was asserting papal authority in China, the missionaries were expelled. Who knows?
Perhaps China could have become Christian like Indo-China and South India, and, of
course, the Philippines. Would that have had any ramification on Australian relations
today?
Matthew 28, Verse 19: “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.” Jews would baptize
non-Jews, who had converted to Judaism, but, to baptize a Jew as a sign of repentance
was a radical departure from Jewish custom. Baptism is a public, physical, visual sign of
words, oil and living, saving water poured, to establish a sacramental bond of unity with
all other baptized. It requires a profession of faith, a call to repentance for the
forgiveness of sins, and incorporation into salvation as Christ Jesus willed it to be. We
“turn to Christ,” “we put on” Christ. The early Christian Church associated Baptism with
the death and burial of Jesus. This was acted out at the riverside, when only adults were
baptized. The candidate was plunged fully under water as a sign of dying with Jesus to
the old ways of life, and being buried with Jesus. Rising up out of the water symbolized
our resurrection, our rising to new life in Christ. Paul wrote “You were buried with
Christ when you were baptized, and, with him, you were raised to new life, because you
trusted in the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead” [Colossians 2.12].
Emerging from the water, the candidate was wrapped in a scented white robe (which
has become today’s gown or layette.) Paul added “All, who have been united with Christ
in baptism, have put on Christ as new clothes” [Galatians 3.27]. Clothing ourselves with
love leads to peace with all members of the body of believers. Peter added his three-
penny-worth:” Water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt
from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because

of the resurrection of Christ” [1 Peter 3.21]. We are united by faith with Christ in his
resurrected life, and have freedom from our cancelled-out sin’s hold over us. Christian
Baptism begins our life in Christ and Christian requiem rites end them. When I used lead
a baptism, (do you remember those?) touching the white baptismal robe, I would add
the words “May you bring this white robe unstained into the eternal life of heaven.” At a
Christian funeral, the same Easter candle is there, oil is again used, and, touching the
white coffin pall, I would say “Thank God, you have brought your white baptismal robe
unstained into the eternal life of heaven.” A little more prosaic were the final words
given by one of my priestly colleagues in my former life. I was just leaving his hospital
dying bed-side, when I paused and said “It’s the feast of St Anthony, Wilf. What would
you like him to find for you?” Quick as a shot came the answer “My bloody baptismal
innocence.” When I reached my monastery, the phone was ringing. Father Wilfrid, who
joined WW1 from Woori Yallock, and who went through years of horror, had passed his
final battle, hopefully with his baptismal innocence found.
Baptism can also be a ‘branding,’ by which we are ‘marked’ out as Christian with an
indelible character engraved upon our soul. In the baptismal service, the celebrant
crosses the forehead, saying “I sign you with the sign of the cross, to show that you are
marked for ever. ”A. B.”Banjo” Paterson wrote of a ten-year old bush barbarian who had
never been christened. “And his wife used to cry, ‘If the darlin’ should die, Saint Peter
would not recognize him.’ But, by luck he survived till a preacher arrived, who agreed
straightaway to baptize him. In the meantime, the young devil overheard the plan, and
his features turned white: “He was none of your dolts, he had seen them brand colts, and
it seemed to his small understanding, if the man in the frock made him one of the flock, it
must mean something like branding.” So, naturally, he skived off to the bush, crying : ”
Tis outrageous ‘ said he, ‘to brand youngsters like me. I’ll be dashed if I’ll stop to be
christened.”’ Is the baptismal brand identifiable? Faber’s 1849 hymn used be sung at
Christian men’s rallies: “Faith of our fathers, living still, in spite of dungeon, fire and
sword…we will be true to Thee till death.” Did our men really mean verse 2: ”Our
fathers, chained in prisons dark, were still in heart and conscience free. How sweet
would be their children’s fate, if they, like them, could die for Thee.”
Matthew 28, Verse 20: “and teaching to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
A Christian educator is God’s mind at work to help grow the best possible human plants
in God’s garden. Teachers affect eternity; they can never tell where their loving influence
ends. The want to impart on-going learning never came to an end with Jesus. “He went
throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the
kingdom” [Matt.4.23].On the Mount of Beatitudes “he began to speak, and taught them,
saying” [Matt. 5.2]. “When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were
astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their
scribes” [Matt. 7.29]. “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their
synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom” [Matt. 9.35]. “Now, when
Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and
proclaim his message in the cities” [Matt.11.1]. “Jesus told the crowds all these things in
parables; without a parable, he taught them nothing” [Matt. 13.34]. “The chief priests
came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things,
and who gave you this authority?” [Matt.21.23]. “Day after day I sat in the temple
teaching, and you did not arrest me” [Matt. 26.55]. When it came to teaching the
commandments, Jesus taught the ten commands as shorthand for the entire 613. When
quizzed by a lawyer, “Which commandment is the greatest?” Jesus summed up all the
commandments in the two greatest, “You shall love the Lord, your God” and “You shall
love neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the
prophets” [Matt.22.34]. And, the command in Exodus 20.13 “You shall not murder,”
became in Jesus’ teaching, expanded for simplicity to “You have heard that it was said to

those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder,’ but I say to you that if you are angry with
your brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement, and if you insult your brother or
sister, you will be liable to the council…if you remember that your brother or sister has
something against you, go, be reconciled to your brother and sister…” [Matt. 5.21-23].
Jesus asks that we teach what he gave us, not our personal pet nostrums and opinions.
Being human, we will fail sometimes by falling back on our biases and bigotries on
particular matters. This was where the teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees went
astray. They equated the received human teachings of elders and the musings of
forgotten rabbis with the commandments of God.
Matthew 28, Verse 20: (Final): At the very beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, an angel
quoted to Joseph the ancient words of a prophet, “Look, a young maid shall conceive and
bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us: [Isaiah
7.14]. At the end of Matthew, came the promise “Remember, I am with you always, to
the end of the age” [Matt. 28.20].
Who is “I am?” Centuries before, from a whirlwind, God had asked God’s servant Job,
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you know so
much.” God used Job’s ignorance of the natural order to reveal his ignorance of God’s
moral order. If Job could not understand the workings of God’s visible, physical creation,
how could he possibly understand God’s mind and character? From before its very
beginning countless light years ago, and far beyond human comprehension, God has
been embedded in the world. Yet, this God promises “I am with you always.” Now, we
know that we will never be abandoned. After all, we are no mere specs of dust, who have
very little meaning. No. We are God-bought by Jesus’ death and resurrection, which
means, we have been saved for further mission. And, God is radiantly as near as a
simple, lonely prayer in the last night of a corona victim, or that from the rasping gasp of
a Good Thief, or a child lisping her baby prayer. Our prayer could be that of John Donne
“Batter my heart, three-personned God, for you, as yet but knock, breathe, shine, and
seek to mend, that I may rise and stand. Overthrow me and bend your force to break,
blow, burn, and make me new” [1624].
The mystery of God’s distance is dwarfed by the miracle of God’s presence. Rudyard
Kipling once wrote that “Our England is a garden that is full of stately views, of borders,
beds and shrubberies, and lawns and avenues, with statues on the terraces and
peacocks strutting by. But the glory of the garden lies in more than meets the eye.” In
Australia, “Clancy of the Overflow” constantly “sees the vision splendid of the sunlit
plains extended, and, at night, the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.” Is it easier
for Australians to know, love and serve our astounding God in our land of a million
miracles, from native orchids, so fragile and small, to towering blue gums diamond
dripping with rain, from wattle-gold dusting the purple ridges, to fields of ripening grain
from harvest soil. If we open our eyes to the amazing loveliness of Australian life, we will
know that we cannot be abandoned. We have God with us, a God who died for us, a God
who placed a Southern Cross above us to remind us, and now, cannot let us go.
If and when we may return to St Philip’s, will we really want to come, or have we
become accustomed to Sunday devotions under our doona duomo? Will we want to,
once again, lay upon the altar, entire and whole and perfect, the service of our love? Will
we again reach out to take the sacramental Lord so that, once again, the mystery of
God’s distance, will become the miracle of God’s presence? Will we work to find anew
the mystic communion that will again enfold our congregation in holy-halo-ness? Will
we quickly forget that, what begins in the house of prayer, must follow into the public
square? This means we realize that, when Jesus calls, he never comes alone. He always
arrives with the world’s unwanted, the fraternity of the friendless, the broken pieces of

human earthenware, the stranger, the outcast, the legion of the overlooked. Will we be
enthusiastic Jesus admirers again, fan devotees, who will cheer him on from the
sidelines, but fail to take to the track to follow him? Will we choose to put our Great
Commission OUT of commission? Kipling ended his poem above: “Adam was a gardener,
and God, who made him, sees, that half a proper gardener’s work, is done upon the
knees. So, when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray, for the Glory
of the Garden, that it may not pass away.” A church can become settled in, huddled up,
slowed down, quite comfortable and more concerned with serving self than reaching out
to those, who are lost. Pray God, that, for us, the GREAT COMMISSION will never be the
GREAT OMISSION. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory.