Pastor’s Corner – June 18, 2023

In the gospel reading for this coming Sunday, Jesus sends out his twelve disciples to proclaim God’s kingdom. In our lectionary study group, we found the words of Jesus somewhat discomforting as he gave instruction, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”(Matt. 9: 5-6) Generous interpretation would be so that we get our “house in order” before sending the disciples into the wider world, but clearly Jesus was exclusive in his ministry. However, along the way Jesus was challenged by Gentiles and Samaritans and evolved and gained greater vision for his ministry. The last verses of Matthew 28 we find a different, more universal instruction, “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.” In the wider narrative of Jesus’ story, we discover Jesus growing as he encounters others beyond his own tribe or Israelites. 

Too often, we too are limited by our own narrow understanding of the world and self. When we travel, or engage with neighbors who are not like us, we grow and have better appreciation of others who challenge our way of seeing the world. It helps us grow and evolve into a wider story of humanity and begin to understand that we are not all that different after all. Beyond cultural and religious differences, the question of what it means to be human is central to our faith. What then does it mean to share the good news beyond our own “tribe” or people like us? 

Pastor Dae