What does “mission” mean to me?

What does “mission mean” to me?

My colleague Esteban invited me to reflect on that recently. Here are some initial, though incomplete thoughts …

Let me answer that in a few ways.

First of all “mission” for the disciple of Christ is joining and partnering with God’s mission. Scholars refer to this as the “missio dei” – the mission of God. Let’s not see mission as us “taking the good news of Jesus in our spiritual backpack” out to where God isn’t. God – Father, Son and Spirit is not only with us and we with God, but God is already out there. That is liberating!

Secondly, being missional is intrinsic to following Jesus. Just as we are all called to care for one another (regardless of how gifted we might be) so we are all called to be missional. When in Matthew 28 Jesus says to his band of disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples … baptizing them … and teaching them …” in a real sense Christ calls us to this too. It’s bound up in being an “apostolic” (i.e. sent) people. Mission always has an “outward”, beyond -ourselves movement.

And what is the mission of God?

Well, to a significant degree, it is about living out Jesus’ words in Luke 4:18-19 when he stands before the synagogue, reads from the prophet Isaiah and proclaims:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

It’s a passage I come back to again and again. I take the liberty of understanding its wording both literally and figuratively, with words or phrases such as “the poor”, “captives”, “sight to the blind”, “the oppressed” having such meaning and gravitas.

We are people of the Spirit. We are people saved by and called by the grace of God through Christ. The call that Christ embodied and by the Spirit still embodies is the same for us.

In Luke 4:21, Jesus rolls up the Isaiah scroll and asserts, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” It’s no different for us. When we partner with God in God’s mission; as we engage with others in sharing in word and action God’s good news in Jesus, that scripture of liberation is incarnated in each of us, by the grace of God it too is fulfilled in others’ engaging with us.

What a joy that can be!
Mission is about that too!


2 Responses to “What does “mission” mean to me?”

  1. 1 Costa Stathakis May 30, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Hi David Greetings Will be playing your video “Holy Spirit Come Down” in our on line service from Glasshouse Country Uniting Church tomorrow. Thank you again for your generous offer to use your recordings for our on line services.

    Blessings to you and Dale Costa Stathakis

    Sent from my iPhone


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