Theme for 2018

At the first service of the year we always set out our theme for the year… mission-of-god

Mission ImPossible

Mission Impossible was an iconic TV series of the late 60’s and 70’s. Each episode began with a disembodied voice – ‘Your mission should you wish to accept it…’ and some seemingly impossible task was presented to the expert task force before the tape self-destructed (which was actually a man puffing cigarette smoke from under a table through a tape machine). I am sure all of us remember the music. In fact I suspect it is playing in your head right now as you read this! Yes, Tom Cruise has cashed in in recent years with a few derivative movies, but the music is not nearly as good.

mission-possibleAt the start of the new year, we are reminded of the mission God has set before his church. But this is not Mission Impossible. It is Mission Possible because it is God’s mission not ours. And with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). We have just been invited to join God in with what he is doing in the world, to set things right after Adam and Eve began the whole sorry mess humanity is in (Genesis 3:6-9) and to restore all things to himself in Christ (Acts 3:21). This restoration has always been God’s plan for his good creation, that is to bring it to perfection through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘And he unveiled the mystery of his long-range plan which he purposed in Christ from the very beginning of time. And because of God’s unfailing purpose, this detailed plan will reign supreme until the fulfilment of all ages finally reaches its climax – when God makes all things new and brings all things together in heaven and on earth under one head, Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 1:9,10).

This is known as the Missio Dei, a Latin term meaning the mission of God or the sending of God. To fulfil this mission, God has created a body of people united to himself through Christ and transformed and empowered by the power of Holy Spirit to do his will, the church. This is what God primary uses as his agent at work in the world but not exclusively so. Jesus was sent in to the world to bring about God’s purposes of restoration. On the evening of the first day of the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples who were hiding away back in the Upper Room scared witless that they would suffer the same fate as Jesus. He stands before them and speaks peace/shalom dispelling their fear. He issues the call to mission – ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’ (John 20:21). Ours is a multi-faceted task as we join God in his work through Jesus Christ to restore the shalom shattered by the fall. Our mission includes caring for God’s creation, serving people without distinction, seeing God’s justice is done, living like Jesus in the world and bearing witness to the truth that is in Jesus by telling people about the salvation that he won for us on the cross.

This is a big job, but it is still Mission Possible, not Mission Impossible because God is with us. He empowers and enables us, he goes ahead of us, he comes behind us, he opens doors, he opens hearts. If it was just up to us trying to do God’s mission for him, it would be Mission Impossible. It is only Mission Possible through the help of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses…’ This is what Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12) is all about. May we seek God in 2018 for his power available to us for mission and respond to God’s invitation to join him in the work. This is ‘our mission should we wish to accept it…’

You can listen to the Sermon on this topic below: 

Our Theme for 2018

"Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you."

John 20:21