Commissioning prayer acknowledges our participation in the move of the Holy Spirit in our world.
In Acts 13, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas are sent out of the church he co-pastored in Antioch. Although the church sent them, these leaders would return to Antioch as their home church.
Saul’s conversion represents something that is almost unbelievable: not that a sinner can find grace, but that judgmental, religious minds can be transformed by an encounter with Jesus. Like Ananias, can we overcome disgust for the self-righteous and extend hope for them, too?
The final words Jesus shared with his disciples before his arrest spoke of a mysterious gift: the Holy Spirit. Jesus is leaving; the Holy Spirit is coming. The Holy Spirit will be in them, doing in them what Jesus did among them.
When the Samaritans reject Jesus, the disciples ask permission to call down fire on them. Jesus rebukes them, and then tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. Like the disciples, our bias towards violence is broken by a God of mercy.
As carriers of the death and life of Christ, we are conformed and transformed into the image of Christ. Our identification with and participation in the cross of Christ informs every aspect of our lives and our relationships.
Countless have been to church and many claim Jesus as savior, but it’s difficult to seek discipleship. We must allow ourselves to be formed to the way of Jesus by our practices and community.