Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
at the Anglican Parish of the Otways
Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
LET me tell you a story!
After Jesus returned to heaven after his death and resurrection he was met by the Archangel Gabriel. Gabriel was surprised to see him back so soon. He didn’t think thirty three years was long enough to redeem and convert the world, after all it is an extremely important and enormous task.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." -Matthew 5:16
“Back so soon?” Gabriel said to Jesus.
“Well I could have stayed longer but they crucified me.”
“So how are you going to finish the job? Gabriel asked.
Jesus replied, “I called together a little group of disciples. They will carry on my work.”
“And what if they should fail?” Gabriel asked.
“I have no other plans.” Jesus answered.
Jesus had preached the Gospel only to Israel, but now he commissioned the apostles to preach the gospel to all nations.
It was a daunting task but He promised that he would send the Holy Spirit. He also assured them that he would be with them always.
But how could this be? The ascension of Jesus is his liberation from all restrictions of time and space. It does not represent his removal from the earth, but his constant presence everywhere on the earth.
During his earthly ministry he could only be in one place at one time, but now that he is united with God he is everywhere God is! Everywhere! Other than the assurance to be with his disciples always, he gave them no other assurances. However that one assurance would give them the courage and strength to face whatever difficulties lay ahead.
A sense of the presence of Christ with us doesn’t change the world for us but it can give us the courage to face it. God’s closeness shields us against a sense of abandonment and despair. Jesus now depends on us. We are his witnesses in the world, in this place. He has no other plans.The central command in the great commission is the imperative to “make disciples”.
After this central command we are given some pointers on how to “make disciples”. Firstly there is that command to go. So often we wait for people to come to us, but it doesn’t work that way. It is so important that we take opportunities to actively go into our community, take an interest in the things that interest them, be concerned for the things that concern them, and witness in our caring and our lifestyle to the truth and love of God.
We need to stop being afraid to shine our light in the midst of the community groups, exercise, music, sport and art clubs we may be a part of.
Secondly we are told to baptise. We are to confidently bring people to a point of confessing faith in Jesus, the outward sign of that being baptism. You need to be confident in encouraging the people God puts in your life to nurture, to make this commitment.
Finally we are told to teach. Now this is something most congregations leave to trained laity and clergy but it doesn’t absolve you from the responsibility. You need to teach what you have learnt to be true, what you have experienced, and by your lifestyle. More is taught by example than by words.
So on this celebration of Christ’s ascension, let us rejoice in the promise of Christ’s presence with us always, and recommit ourselves to making a better effort at fulfilling our responsibilities as set out in the great commission.
The Lord be with you.
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.