We have come to the end of a 7 week series on things that we value or think are really important. We took the Fall season to ask what we take seriously. Seriously? Ya seriously! We talked about things like love, generosity, transformation; we also talked about our community’s three big values, discovery, story & community.
This week we look at how all those things should play out in our lives. What action does our faith in Jesus lead us to. It’s nice to talk about love and community and transformation, but will we turn those wonderful things into tangible things, action steps? It’s a question that we should always be asking, isn’t it? Even more important when it comes to faith, Jesus and the gospel. It was James who said, “faith without works is dead”. He wasn’t dissing faith, but saying that if faith is real that it’s gotta turn into action, into a verb, into real life things that make a real difference in our world and in others.
TransoforMission – a word we made up for this conversation. What does it mean? It means that the change in us should bring a change through us. Transformation needs to lead to MISSION. Part of last week’s text fits well here. (Rom 12:1-2)
Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. (message)
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
If our faith doesn’t impact our life, our neighbourhoods, our cities, then like James says, it is no faith at all. With that in mind, let’s look at a familiar story in the gospel of John: that time Jesus washed his friend’s feet.
In John 13, Jesus and his disciples have sat down for a meal, possibly the passover meal and probably the Thursday evening before the Friday of Jesus’ death. He begins to do something that was unconventional and counter cultural. Jesus puts a towel around his waist and begins to wash the disciples feet. Peter wants nothing of this – he doesn’t think Jesus should be stooping down to this level. Feet washing was the job of servants and slaves. This is the first century, people walked in sandals and therefore feet were the dirtiest part of their bodies. Jesus insists on doing this, both as an act of servanthood to his disciples, as an example he would want them to follow.
We learn 4 things about Mission and being Missional from this story:
Mission will be messy…
Anytime you attempt to good, you will probably get a little messy, and risk a bit of pain. Jesus put a towel around his waist because he knew he’d be getting wet and having to dry off his friend’s feet. It’s a mess he knew was worth making. This is feet we’re talking about folks. Basic, ugly, dirty feet. It doesn’t get more down to earth than this. You can’t make the word better without putting a towel around your arm or around your waist and expecting a little dirt when you serve.
Mission involves doing what is necessary…
Peter can’t understand why this has to happen, but Jesus insists that it must happen. It was necessary, for the disciples, and for others who came after them. Jesus had to do this. As we follow him we will start to feel a necessity to serve others as well. God’s love in us compels us to turn our transformation into transformission. What is it that you are feeling you ‘have to do’?
Mission involves a lower posture, just like Jesus, we humble ourselves…
Jesus came to serve, and true servanthood means that we lower ourselves to serve those in need. In the example of Jesus, we are to do the same. People with a sense of mission aren’t above any role; they will do what needs to be done to make their surroundings better. Philippians 2 is the champion of this idea. So if we want to be people of mission, lets think of others more than we think or ourselves. This attitude change the world.
Mission is not about sending someone else or something else, but about being sent…
The crux of our mission is always this – to be Jesus to others. Doing what he did, following his pattern, having a sense of calling, being, as CS Lewis said, little Christ’s. A missional community is not a sending community, but a sent community – we scatter with a purpose. How? By being the hands and feet of Jesus. We are becoming a community of people who love God, love our neighbour, and make the world better.
What does this look like LIVE?
- This doesn’t mean that we go around washing people’s feet. But in the spirit of that act of humility of servanthood, we identify what God is calling us to and serve with all our hearts in that area.
- As a community we serve collectively (i.e. food drives, running4home, community events, raising and sending funds to missional organizations), but as individuals we must find our passion for serving.
- We can be like movie trailers for those who have yet to taste God’s goodness in Jesus – teasers of what Jesus has for the world.
- Of course this always includes simply sharing Jesus’ story with the world as the Spirit leads you to do so.
“The only way to give credit to the story of Jesus and the gospel is to have a congregation/community who believes it and lives it” (Leslie Newbigin)
“As you serve in places of pain, love, sorrow and hope, it’s Jesus walking in, wearing your skin, speaking your tone of voice…” (NT Wright)
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us show love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
(Francis of Assisi)
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smaller group discussion : (video summary of talk)
What’s harder, change (transformation) or turning that change into action? Why is it difficult to take the step into action?
Why is it easy to talk about good things, but not actually follow through with them?
Skim through John 13:1-17. What do you think about this story? What do you learn about Jesus, his mission, about Peter, about us?
Look at the 4 thoughts around mission. What resonates? What is most challenging? What is most exciting?
Jesus said, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Now combine that with LB’s quote, “The only way to give credit to the story of Jesus and the gospel is to have a congregation/community who believes and lives it”. How do they jive together?
End with praying through Francis of Assisi’s prayer, and then praying for our world and your missional part in it.