Coherent Life and Mission
… Related to the invitation to worship, and thus to join those acknowledging God’s reign as a present reality in their community, the apostolic mission also involves the making of disciples of Jesus (Matt. 28:19). Specifically it invovles “teaching them all that I have commanded you,” a reference in Matthew to that whole body of Jesus’ teaching found in his gospel, and particularly Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This sermon, like its archetype in the book of Exodus, instructs the people of God in how to be God’s Holy People. Thus the mission to carry Jesus’ work of engaging the world with the nearness of God’s reign involves the worship of Jesus as Lord, the making of disciples for the Lord and enacting the nearness of God’s reign in words and deeds of forgiveness, healing, restoration, freedom and justice. The credibility of each part of this mission relies on the others – as Paul’s letters, for example, make clear. Paul’s concern for righteousness within and among Christians is not a new form of legalistic concern for salvation through obedience to the law, but with the witness of their behaviour to the claim of Christ on their lives. It is not credible to state that God’s reign is near in Jesus Christ if God in Christ is not worshiped by those who declare it. It is not credible to proclaim that God’s reign is near if God in Christ is worshiped but God’s liberating power is absent in the life and work of the communities. Nor is it credible that God’s reign is near if God in Chirst does not transform the individual lives of those who make that claim. Thus the coherence of the life of the hurch with its mission is, like that of Jesus with his mission, integral to its inteligibility and truthfulness.