All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them ot obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20).
So says Jesus to the eleven disciples in our lectionary reading for Trinity Sunday. This is sometimes called the Great Commission, Jesus' final instructions to his disciples and to us. These are the very last words of the Gospel of Matthew, whereby Jesus tells us to make disciples of all nations, to baptize, and to teach his commandments. The gospel makes it clear that some of the disciples were doubtful while listening to this, and indeed, the Great Commission must have felt as daunting to the Eleven as it does to us. The resurrected Jesus is preaching here to a congregation of eleven, which had shortly before beentwelve, iun a world that often seems to repudiate Jesus' claim of the authority given him. An so, this scene speaks to us too, who come to church every week sometimes feeling strong in our faith, sometimes feeling doubtful. Somtimes ready to sing God's praises, other times overwhelmed by the challenges in our lives.
Trinity Sunday kicks off the long season after Pentecost and, appropriately, reminds us that God is a relationship. God is not an impassible monad, aloof, unaffected, and unaffectable by us. Instead, God is three persons in a mutual, indwelling relationship of love. And we are invited into that relationship. It is love that defines God. And on Trinity Sunday we are reminded that it is through love that we can hope to live into God's presence. Here, as the story shifts from Jesus' ministry to our own, what an appropriate way to send us off into the world and to remind us of what Christ calls us to do.
This summer, I invite you to reflect on the life of the church and to contemplate how we can live into our status as members of the body of Christ. What can we do for the church, for our communities, and for the world? No matter how daunting this might seem, let's remember what Jesus Christ reminds us here - that he is with us until the end.
The Rev. Bram Kranichfeld
All Saints Episcopal Church
1250 Spear St. South Burlington, VT 05403
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Website Updated June 2, 2023
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