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Saturday, April 6, 2013
Today’s Reading | Matthew 28:16–20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (NRSV)
Text for this reflection | Matthew 28:19a
Maybe graduates from other professional schools would say the same thing, but it is amazing what I did not learn in seminary. For instance, we had zero classes on how to lead a Bible study or how to talk to a child about sin or an elder about redemption. I learned some important skills, but not how to be an effective teacher. Considering what Matthew 28 asks of us, that is a significant omission.
For some time I understood this passage to mean we are to make “believers” out of all people. But a disciple is a learner, not necessarily a believer yet. Christ calls us first to invite people everywhere to learn about God; baptism comes later. We are all called to be teachers to the people in our lives.
Teachers I have admired are knowledgeable, secure, and open to questions. They may not have all the answers, but they know how to ask good questions—and they are still asking them! They invite curiosity, and their students feel safe enough to ask questions and bold enough to take risks. They assume all of their students have something valuable to contribute to the conversation.
As a Christian, can I be a good teacher? Am I knowledgeable about what I believe and why? Am I secure in my faith? Am I open to questions and able to respond without being defensive (or offensive)? Do I respect and honor what others bring to the conversation? Can I do more than be a good example; can I be a good teacher?
Christ, my Lord, you call me to a great task. Help me to love you with such joy that I cannot help but talk about you to my neighbor. Shape my words into messages of loving-kindness so that more hearts may open to you. Help me to plant my feet firmly on your holy ground as I regard my co-disciples in faith. Amen.
Written by Patty Jenkins, Director of the Center for Life and Learning
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