Rector's Monthly Letter February 2019

Dear Friends

Jesus’ last instruction to his followers was ‘go and make disciples of all nations’. I believe that this command remains crucial to the life of the church, but we need to be clear on what it means to be a disciple.

The rabbis of Jesus’ day were very selective in who they chose to be their disciples. They were so because a disciple was not simply a student or learner, but more an apprentice whose aim would be to become like the rabbi. They had to make every effort to hold the values of the rabbi, demonstrate the character of the rabbi and do what the rabbi did. The rabbis therefore chose only the most able.  Jesus by comparison was radical in his choice of disciples. His 12 immediate followers did not include the intellectual, religious and  moral elite but fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot and doubters. Yet Jesus still thought they could be like him and do the things that he did. When he sent out, firstly 12 and then 72 of them to do just that (bring healing, explain what God is like, drive out demons and even raise the dead) they didn’t make a bad fist of it.

The key to their accomplishment was not their own ability but the   spiritual resources that Jesus gave them. Judas forgot this and sought to do things through political power and money. His potential as a disciple was lost. So often we too want to do church through human ability alone, but to be genuine disciples we must learn what it means to rely on God’s infinitely greater strength, remembering St. Paul’s   observation that ‘When I am weak then I am strong’.