April 18,

1 John 1:1–2:2,

John 20:19-31,

“As the Farther has sent me, so I send you.” With those words we hear Christ’s commissioning of the Church to fulfill its mission in the world. But who is the one who sent him? Not a Pilate-like political ruler. Not a Caiaphas-like religious leader. But a God who, in love, gives of himself to create and to re-create the world which has been damaged. God who serves and cares and loves. Since the messenger is part of the message, the Church too is meant to be the Church that loves when loving means giving of oneself for the healing of the nations.

Any study of history or society tells us that organizations and communities seek to defend themselves, to uphold their honour and to hold onto the power that they have gained. The Church has been no different. Yet it has never lost its calling to serve the world with love. In our day, society itself has risen up to challenge the church in its ways of self-preservation and protection.

The Church is equipped with God’s own Spirit to remind it of who it is that has sent the Son, who, in turn, has sent the Church into the world. As we hear of our commissioning, we are reminded that we are meant to be a servant people of a Servant God, to give of ourselves for the salvation of the world. That is the challenge facing us today. What does it mean for the Church to live by faith today?

  • What is your understanding of the Church being sent by Christ just as Christ was sent by the Father?
  • What would the Church look like if it gave itself wholeheartedly to the healing of the nations?
  • How has society risen up to challenge the Church in its ways of self-preservation and protection?
  • How does our understanding of God shape the life of the Church?