Mission Moment

[Jesus said:] “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Matthew 10:40-42
These are the very last words in the stirring and challenging set of instructions that Jesus gives to the disciples before he sends them forth to heal and to drive out evil. Their task is daunting, to go from town to town, carrying nothing with them. As they go, they are to speak to anyone who will listen, of Christ’s healing and saving power. Jesus warns them this task will be difficult and at times even feel divisive. If anyone does not listen to the disciples, they are to shake the dust of that place from their feet and move on, preaching and teaching to new people. Jesus ends his instructions by reminding his followers that those who welcome them welcome Christ among them, and those who welcome Christ among them will find their way to God.
These words continue to ring out for our denomination as delegates gather in person for the 34th United Church of Christ General Synod in Indianapolis, Indiana, under the theme, Making All Things New. During this time, attendees and delegates have the opportunity to fully live Jesus’ welcoming vision. Like the disciples, they are encouraged to speak the truth of Christ’s healing and life-giving presence. Like those who encountered the first disciples, sometimes that truth can feel challenging or even divisive. But Christ calls General Synod attendees to both speak and listen anyway.
This speaking and listening happens at General Synod this week over committees with clear agendas, in less formal conversations in hallways and parking lots, in worship and workshops, over vendor tables and, of course, in the main assembly, where all delegates gather to pray, deliberate, listen, and speak. We do all this because Christ continues to assure us that where our words are welcomed, God is present. And when we can discern God’s presence, we can better sense what God is calling us towards.
As the 34th General Synod draws to a close, we thank God for the opportunity to follow these old instructions as we Create A New Thing!