During Common Ground, an alternative worship that gathers Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. in the Augie chapel, we gather and let go of our ‘to-do’ lists for a while, sing some songs, share Communion together, drink coffee and have small-group conversation—as a community.
The other night, the conversation truly inspired me. Perhaps you’ve heard of The Great Commission story.
Matthew 28:16-20, when Jesus spoke to the disciples, post-resurrection, saying “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (NIV).
At first glance, the Great Commission seems to be a ploy for Christians to go forth and convert. I hear something different. I hear both a call and a promise. The call: to go forth and make community.
Now if you were to randomly go forth and start baptizing folks, via full immersion or baptismal font, I think they might be confused and feel uncomfortable, so hold off on the water for now. How then does one create a community of ‘baptism’? Build a community of eternal love and forgiveness. We get talked at every day; the last thing anyone wants is to get talked at some more.
So, stop, take some time to get to know someone by listening and caring for them, instead of merely preaching. The reassurance: you are human and you are bound to screw up.
However, we are not alone; we are never alone. Jesus says we don’t have to partake in the Great Commission on our own. Not only do you have community, but a God that loves you and covers you in grace, even when you are not aware of it.
Go forth and make community, talk to, listen to and care for people; during the times you succeed and the times you fail, you will never be alone.