The Gospel charge of Jesus takes us back to the Baptismal font and the sight of water being poured three times and synced to the words:
“In the Name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Go!” charges Jesus, “into all the world to make disciples of all nations!” to BAPTIZE them
– in that there-fold NAME of God!
Go to baptize – to mark, claim, set apart, commission - everyone, to live in the name of God, the Source and Designer of all that is, the God Who is beyond our fully comprehending, yet Whose “voice” echoes through all creation, vibrating, resonating in the heavens and the earth, and into every living creature.
“Go” in the name that pulls us away from our drive “to dismantle the world, to exploit our natural resources, to harm one another, to mistake what is good as what is advantageous to us” (Adapted from Eric Barreto: In the Beginning and In the End, Day1, for June 11, 2017)
“Go” as captivated by that name which pulls us into the wonder and mystery of the opening poem in Genesis:
‘In the beginning God created’ and God’s recurring commentary, It was good, very good.’”
“Go” in the name of the God Who pulls us out of and beyond ourselves, as Baptismal water is poured in name of “God the Father, Maker, Creator,” marking us, naming us as “a child of God!”
And when we discredit that name, when we reject that name, when we act in ways that cause us to lose any birthright to that name, listen for the voice of God resonating in “the name of the Son,” God in Christ, amplifying the word LOVE, the love that seeks us out, to call us back, so that we experience “God with us,”
redeeming us to live into a new name “disciple of Christ.”
I still remember that meeting in the Pastor’s study at St. John’s Church in Lansdale. The room seemed much longer than it actually is. There I sat looked at three elderly clergy sitting on a couch at the other end, the officials about to question me as to my qualifications to be approved to go to seminary and prepare for the ministry.
They read my name, “Martha Judith Bean” and then mused, “Bean, Clement Bean, storekeeper and elder at Wentz’s Church. Fine Christian, and this is his granddaughter.”
On the strength of my grandfather’s witness as a disciple of Christ, they accepting me as being nurtured in a family of faith, so that, in their eyes, I bore not only a family name, but the name of Jesus Christ, and they approved me for seminary and ministry!
In time I came to confess with the Apostle Paul,
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Rom. 6: 3-4
“Go” as one marked with the name of God taking on our humanness in Jesus Christ; the name that pulls us into the God Who is with us, so that we can be called a “disciple of Christ.”
“Disciple” – I can still hear my eleventh grade English teacher , Miss Balyson, announcing the word, “disciple,” and saying it means a student who is desirous of learning,” and not “pupil, who is present only because he/she is required to come to school.” Then, she intoned the charge, “You are here to be students.”
The word that echoes through Baptismal waters,
charging us to be a disciple who desires to become a copy of His life, living into the name of Christ Who
is God with us.
After a brief post-Easter stay, the “God with us Jesus” suddenly willed His followers the legacy of living “in the name of the Holy Spirit,” - the closeness of God that is, as the hymn writer, Brian Wren says, “closer yet than breathing.”
“Go” as one filled with the breathed in presence of God, bringing God close to us, to be in us;
Imagine walking down the street and catching a reflection of yourself in a department store window, and see it as an everyday sight, reminding us that God is accompanying us, God is shadowing us, this God Who wills to be indelibly imprinted on our souls. (Adapted from Amy Butler, A Curious Community)
“Go,” charges Jesus “to baptize,” to be filled and marked with the Name of:
God as Father, beyond us,
God as Christ, with us,
God as Spirit, in us.
But first we come to the table, invited today as Paul invited the first Christians in Corinth, who in receiving bread and cup become a people who live the blessing:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
“With you!” With each and every one of us who who receive the gifts of God that carry the promise of that Day when all creation will be renewed to hear God say, “It is good, very good.”
So, “Come” and then “Go” as one marked to live:
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” Amen.