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When the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples that first night, he empowered them with his Holy Spirit and sent them out. Before his Ascension, which we will celebrate later this month, Jesus sent them again in what we call The Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20) Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus gives us the great commandment, which sums up all the Commandments, law and prophets saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matt. 22:37-39) A great commandment and a great commission which informs the Church how to be great for God by what we are to be doing.

1)      Love the Lord with everything you’ve got! The Church does this through worship. Easter Sunday’s worship was overflowing! Why not a full sanctuary every other Sunday as well, since every Sunday celebrates Christ’s resurrection. Worship also gives the Holy Spirit opportunity to open our hearts and minds, working through Word and Sacraments!

2)      Love your neighbor! This is the Church’s ministry, serving others in need by sharing God’s love for them and attending to their physical and spiritual needs. God has established a personal, loving relationship with us; now we can build those kinds of relationships with the people around us as we share his love.

3)      Go and make disciples! Share the Good News and tell others what Jesus has done for you; let them know that Jesus has done it for them, too. We do this at home, at work and at school by sharing our faith stories and being living examples of our faith.

4)      Baptize them! In Baptism God forgives sin, claims us as his children, gives us his Holy Spirit, and gives us eternal life. When people are aware of the awesome gifts and promises God makes in Baptism, they want to receive all that God offers.

5)      Teach them to obey God’s Word! Jesus taught his disciples everything they needed to know for life and salvation. The Church teaches through Bible studies, classes, and fellowship; every time we are together to share what Christ has taught us. When people know God’s Word and the Word lives in them, they are eager to do his Will.

This Easter Season reminds us that we have a living Lord and Savior. Christ is alive! The world needs to know.  God uses the Church, you and me, to tell them and show them! When we’re living in a right relationship with our living Lord, it’s easy, because Jesus does it through us. We are never left on our own, as Jesus has promised, “I am with you always!”

Pastor Kurt Wandrey