Missions Rising

And Jesus came and said to them, “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20

In 1869, eleven-year old John H. Mellinger was sitting in the old stone Strasburg Meetinghouse listening to a sermon on Matthew 28:18-20.  He heard a great deal about instruction and obedience - these are good, Anabaptist emphases.  On the way home, he questioned his father about why the preacher had not mentioned anything about Jesus' authority, going to the nations, baptizing and making disciples.  His father did not have an answer.  (For more of John's pilgrimage, see John L. Ruth's The Earth is the Lord's (Herald Press 2001).)

Young John's question continues to haunt us today.  We suspect that the answer has less to do with mental assent to a creed and more to do with whether indeed the white-hot flame of Christ dwells in us:  "To us God chose to make known how great among us are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory.  Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this we toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within us."  a paraphrase of Colossians 1:27-29

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