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March 8, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Nine

Week Two: Disturbances

Reflection for the Week: Ask disturbing questions and consider unexpected ways we share the Gospel story.

Why? Why go make disciples? This is the text we lovingly call “The Great Commission.” These are our marching orders and Christians. This is what the Apostle Paul did that many of Jesus followers were failing to do. He took the message of the Gospel out into the world and made disciples. He planted churches and got Christianity as a movement up and moving. But, why?

“Why” is one of the most powerful words in the English language. I think that is why young children learning to talk spend a lot of time asking, “Why?” It gives them a feeling of power and control. I can even remember one exchange with my son Jason at about age three when after a series of why questions he asked the biggest one of all, “Daddy, why do people ask why?”.

We ask why to identify the cause, reason or purpose for something. It is a good question to ask. Asking “why” pushes the pause button and allows for reflection before rushing to an action or conclusion. That’s a good thing.

The United Methodist Church has indeed paused and asked the question, “Why?” The call statement of the United Methodist Church is, “We believe in making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” (www.umc.org) That’s why we do this work of sharing the love of Christ, because that love transforms lives.

When you become a disciple of Jesus Christ, you becoming a follower of a “Way” of living. It is a way of justice and compassion, not oppression and hatred. It is a way of generosity and community, not selfishness and isolation. There are too many borders and barriers between nations and people. We need to transform the world from its self-focused, self-destructive path to the other-centered, creative path of renewal and restoration. No economic plan, no political party or military strategy will ever be able to do what we can do by making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Why do we do this? We want our children to live in health, safety and peace. If we want this for our children, how much more do you think our Father in heaven wants it for us?

Prayer: Gracious God, May I be a witness for you that draws others to you. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference