[Christ Church, Norway, ME; May 29, 2005; Second Sunday after Pentecost; Matthew 6:24-34.]
Matthew’s Gospel: Moral Earnestness. Matthew admonishes his audience more starkly and strongly than the other evangelists. Christological statement: “We receive these words not just from a wise teacher, but from our Lord and King.”
Are moral choices more complex today than before?
Do we have a way of knowing when, and to what extent, we are doing God’s will?
One suggestion: does doing the will of God express whole-hearted devotion to God and a radical love for neighbor (core values of Jesus’ teaching)?
Love and Justice: God’s work is characterized by love and justice. Where we see them, God is at work. Where they seem absent is an excellent place for us to join God in the ongoing struggle against evil (whatever blocks love and justice).
God is as concerned about how I live (doing God’s will) from Monday to Saturday as he is about what I do on Sunday.
Congregational Missions: done by Christ Church as a whole or by one of its committees.
Member Missions: are what members do daily at work, in the home, in their communities, etc.
Both types of mission are essential. A congregation’s basic purpose must include supporting us members in our daily lives.
In our mission, we remember that we are co-workers with God. Jesus Christ is the victor over evil and shares his power over evil with us.
Life in six daily areas:
1. Home (includes family or close friends)
2. Work (includes school and volunteer work)
3. Local community (neighborhood, town, city)
4. Wider world (society, culture, economy, or government in county, state, nation, world)
a. your own spiritual health (includes physical and emotional health)
b. your share in church life and in its outreach in service and evangelism in the congregation, diocese, communion – USA or worldwide.
These six areas are really our mission fields: Each mission we undertake will have four characteristics:
- First, they are specific and call for action in what we do or say.
- Second, they are centered in love and justice. We are working for harmony, fairness and caring for ourselves and others.
- Third, they usually cost us something. They involve expenditures of myself or my assets. The costs could be time, effort, and, perhaps, money.
- Fourth, missions are carried out only with God’s help. We may find new insights into a tough problem or find that with prayer formerly difficult people are willing to talk.