Sunday, April 14, 2013

Living in EasterJoy (3)

My latest reading has focused on Missional God, Missional Church (IVPAcademic 2012) by Ross Hastings. Living in Easter Joy, you say?

Well, yes. In this demanding but exciting read he claims the "Greatest Commission" (as compared with the Great Commission  of Matthew 28: 19,29)  is found in John 20:19-23.  It's the greatest, he claims because its contrast of before/after shows just how powerfully Jesus empowers disciples to participate in God's mission.  His twofold repetition of "Peace be with you, Peace to you" emphasizes the wonder of the shalom which Jesus imparts to make a community of shalom.  There is commission (v21) and it is linked with the Spirit (v.22) and the task of forgiveness (v.23).

He unpacks this wonderful Easter story theologically to show how this event sets the scene for the church (Acts 2 and ever since) with a missional gospel that has the risen Jesus not only sending out, but also bringing in as we participate in God's trinitarian mission.

His analysis of much current thought and church life engages a wide literature which makes it an appropriate book to include in my forthcoming DMin Preaching class.  But what thrilled me was to see again the familiar story of that Easter evening when the doors were shut out of fear treated with depth and such hope for the church in its task today.

I confess that sometimes my reading does not light up my soul.  But this has really added to Easter Joy.   

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