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This last week, I participated in an event called “Church on the Move.”
I was asked to do a couple of workshops and deliver a keynote address. I left for the event with everything fully prepared and, as I was falling asleep the night before my presentation one word kept playing around in my head. It was the word ‘go.’ I would awaken early the next morning and play around with that word, reorienting a bit what I would say.
I have long thought that the church was built for mission – an old Latin word that means ‘to be sent.’ A mission is a sending out.
God’s first word to Abram is ‘Go.’ Needing someone to lead a people who would be a ‘light to the nations,’ God chose Abraham and Sarah. They became, if you will, the church on the move, and from them we would learn that to follow God one must be sent, and sent with a clear purpose and mission. One must go.
At the burning bush, God said to Moses: “I am sending you to the Pharoah. Go, therefore.”
In Isaiah 6:8, the verse most often read at Ordinations, God asks: “Whom shall I send? And who will go?” And Isaiah, showing the proper posture before the One who calls, replies: “Here I am. Send me.” And God then says: “Go.”
To be in relationship with the Creator is to go, to be sent, to be on the move.
And so it is that Matthew places these words in the mouth of Jesus at the close of his gospel: “God has given me all authority in heaven and on the earth: therefore, Go!.”
To be the Church is to be sent. To be a disciple is to be sent. To be faithful to our calling, we must go. This is the Church on the move.
At the close of my presentation, someone asked an important question: how do I know what my church’s mission is. How do we know where to ‘go’, or to whom we are sent?
Remembering what my own Spiritual Father, Sam Mann, taught me about this, I replied: Hear the cry.
Moses is sent to the Pharoah, we are told in Ex. 3, because “God said, ‘I have heard their cries.'”
And so, dear friends and fellow travelers on the way, know that you are being sent. You are being called to go. Before you pack any bags or plan your trip or schedule your itinerary, understand that your going is a sending. It is movement with a purpose, a mission. And the purpose can only be discerned when there is a cry to be heard that others either do not hear or will not.
In the quiet moments that you share with the sacred, be open to an invitation that calls you forth into the world and sends you to a place or a people whose cries have gone unheeded. God hears, and God sends. Go, therefore, and proclaim what good news there is for those who have yet to hear it.
Responding to the call is a noble undertaking, the result of one of God’s children discerning God’s purpose for her for a time. God has need of you. May their be an abundance of blessings that accompany you on your own journey with the sacred as you travel together into the Mystic.