“No Matter What” by The Rev. Kaji Douša
At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, here’s what Jesus says, “All authority on heaven and on earth is given to me. Go ye 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 lo, I am with you, even until the end of the age.” Now it’s turned out that what we call in the Church the “Great Commission” has felt like a commission that gives “authority over,” but not necessarily a sense of “joining with.” And there are times when people have gone on mission to convert others with a feeling of superiority, as in they held a position of God’s love that the people they hoped to convert did not have. I think we’ve learned, and I hope that we have learned from God, that that was never Jesus’ intention in offering the Great Commission. Because, think about the community that Jesus was speaking to – these were people who shared all things in common, people who gave everything they had for the sake of the poor, and for others who had been forgotten by community. And so, in today’s age, I ask us to consider, has Church offered you, or has learning about Jesus offered you, discomfort that made you feel worse about yourself than before you knew anything about him? Or, has learning about Jesus opened up the beauty and the truth of the Gospels of a God who at the end of the Gospel would say, “Lo, I am with you, even until the end of the age!” I am with you, I will never abandon you, there is nowhere on this earth you can go where I won’t be with you. If Church, or if the words you’ve heard from Scripture have made you feel as if you are separated from God, I hope you will know that God intends better for you. That God is pushing through whatever Church, or those of us who have interpreted Scripture wrong from time to time might offer. And know the God who said, “I am with you,” is not a liar. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.