A Commission of Baptize and Obey

A reading for Thursday, May 14, 2015: Matthew 28:16-20.

Just as in our politics, there is a polarity present in our religion. Each side talks at the other side instead of with the other side. Each side demands that others pay attention to their point of view, without offering listening in return.

One view is that of grace. Jesus Christ has come down and offered grace and love, peace and compassion. The true Christian view, according to this side, is to offer acceptance to all of creation. So that all will know God as the God of All... This is the so-called progressive view of Christianity.

The other view is that of righteousness. Again, Jesus Christ has come down to offer a more excellent way for life, a way of justice and holiness. The true Christian view, according to this other side is to call men and women to a higher order of life. So that good can exist in the world... This is the so-called evangelical view of Christianity.

In Matthew 28, Jesus offers the Great Commission. It is to "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 to obey everything that I have commanded you."

Can we not see that both views are present in the Commission. Baptize would be the freely given grace and love of God. "Behold my (son/daughter) with whom I am well pleased." While at the same time, teaching them to obey is the way of goodness, a higher order of life submitted to. "Offer yourself as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God."

The power of the Great Commission is that it refuses our reductionism. We cannot simply make it into what we want, in order to fit into our point of view. Grace, love and acceptance comes right along with justice, righteousness and submission to God. It's not either or, but both and...

We are at our best as the fullness of Christian community when we allow all sides to speak and be heard, when we baptize and submit. And Jesus said, "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


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