“Mission is finding out what God is doing and joining in…”
In Sunday’s Gospel story (Matt 16. 21-27) we encounter Jesus as a man on a mission! Nothing and no one can get in his way – not even his newfound ‘rock’ Peter who gets just about the harshest rebuke you can imagine…. ‘Get behind me Satan’.
This passage is one of those ‘turning point’ moments when the direction of the narrative gains new momentum and direction. This passage speaks powerfully about intentional ministry and witness.
On Sunday we will say a final farewell to Revd. Sarah. She too is a woman on a mission! The Valley Parishes await, and I hope they’re ready and willing to join Sarah in this mission – I know only too well that when Sarah gets the wind in her sails she expects things to get done!
However, I know from my own experiences that leading a church in mission feels very daunting. You meet a lot of well-meaning Peter’s along the way – especially at the start. Of course, the most distracting Peter is the one we all carry around in our heads. He is the one who is only too keen to remind you of what you can’t do or should not try to do. Be it through reinforcing self-doubt or tempting you with the ‘easy option’, we are all vulnerable to this voice of ‘bad news’.
My hope and prayer is that Revd Sarah will keep in mind the wise words of the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams: “Mission is finding out what God is doing and joining in.” I’d like to add my own little nugget of Godly wisdom:
‘Mission is finding out what God is not doing and keeping well away!”
That sometimes calls for us to ‘name’ that person or situation in our midst which we truly believe is not of God – or worse, is working with those forces which seek to deny the ‘good news’.
Yes, we are all on a mission to share the good news of God in Christ which is life in all its fullness. God has called Revd Sarah from harbour to valley in order that she may inspire in those whom the Bishop has entrusted to her a growing desire to find out just what God is doing and help them to join in as fully as they can… but I sense there will be occasions when she will need to say “Get behind me…. I’m on a mission!
Please continue to hold Revd Sarah in your prayers and do join us in worship as we say our joyful farewell THIS Sunday in the church ground of St James, Birdham at 10am. We invite you to bring a small amount of bread and wine (enough for you or your group) and whatever refreshments you chose.
Assuring you all of my prayers