By Robert Halsey Pine
“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. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20 NRSV).
Here Jesus charges the disciples and expresses their mission clearly. The mission was straightforward but the “doing” was difficult. But guess what? That message made it through 2,000 years and is stronger than ever, touching and baptizing millions and millions of people. Jesus is still with us.
To say that we are part of something big would be the ultimate understatement. We are part of the whole deal, the everything connection. The awesomeness of this connection with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit overwhelms us. The sadness is that the world still does not get it. We have to make up our own set of rules rather than following God’s commands. We consider all sorts of angles that just serve to complicate things. Nations get each other’s attention by bombing God’s creation until it is unrecognizable.
I had a neighbor lady when I was growing up who went on a trip with her husband, visiting several foreign countries. My family laughed at her when she returned and told us about her trip. The funny part was when she kept saying, “You know, people are people no matter where you travel in the world.” We chuckled at this great revelation the lady had received. The fact is that a lot of people around the world don’t believe that “people are people” across the globe. Our neighbor lady had a good thought that my family felt was obvious, but is it obvious to everyone?
It has been said that a nation is no more than its individuals written large. If “people are people,” meaning for my neighbor that there are good folks everywhere, why do we struggle so throughout the world? After 2,000 years, we still struggle to understand Jesus’ commands.
For each generation there is a learning curve. We have to do it our way again and again, until we crash and burn or finally give up and let God.
Dear Lord, help all people to do good by following Your commands. Thank you, Father, for Your patience with us. We know it is up to us to carry out Jesus’ Great Commission. You know, Father, like my neighbor lady, that people are people around the world. Of course, you do – You made us. Amen.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.