By Pam Tinsley, reprinted from Living God’s Mission.
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’” (John 20:21). This verse, from the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Easter, has been my earworm this past week. Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection as they huddle together in fear behind locked doors and speaks these comforting – and challenging – words to his disciples.
Jesus’ words are also for us, his 21st-century disciples. Our baptismal promise to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ” calls us to leave the shelter of our churches and homes. We are called to go forth into the world as ministers of the resurrection – ministers of hope.
This message is echoed in a timely blog by Prince Rivers for the Alban Institute, Go beyond the sanctuary. Rivers reminds us that the number of those worshiping in church is not an indication of church health. Instead, health is reflected in the ministry that takes place outside of the church building and in the wider community. This is lay ministry. This is ministry in daily life. And, as Rivers writes, “The post-resurrection narratives in the Gospels clearly point us to ministry beyond the sanctuary.”
When Jesus sends us into our broken world to be ministers of love, compassion, justice, reconciliation, we are also sent to serve as ministers of hope. And where we are sent is as individual as each of us is.
Yet, we may wonder whether we have the tools to proclaim the Good News by word and example. We may doubt whether we are sufficiently prepared to do so. Here’s where regular worship and Christian community support us. Worship and Christian fellowship offer means for easing those doubts. And, as we learn from Thomas’s experience in the upper room, doubt nourished by curiosity can lead to revelation, transformation, and empowerment.
So, during this Eastertide, I invite you to consider how you might serve as a minister of the resurrection, offering hope through your love, care, and concern to those you encounter in your daily life.