Last Sunday we sang a fun little song for the Incarnation Choir during Coffee Hour. It was the choir’s final Sunday before breaking for the summer, so we were happy to honor them with “Adieu and Bon Voyage.” Thomas Reefer, our Interim Music Director, wrote the lyrics and set them to the tune of “New York, New York.”
Here’s the thing. The congregation was singing to the choir and for the choir, but we weren’t serenading them. In other words, the choir was singing with us – thanks be to God – and ultimately carried us along. They were brilliant, as always, and their leadership was the only reason we made it to the end and finished strong.
Perhaps we could have muddled through without them, especially as Thomas sounded great on piano. But having the choir there (singing about themselves in the third person, no less) helped the rest of us sing better, have more fun, and accomplish what we set out to do.
Click here to listen for yourself.
The same dynamic is at play in our relationship with God. We put our minds to following God’s will and doing good works, which absolutely brings honor and glory to God’s name. But God is not just sitting back and watching us go. God is working alongside us and supporting us through it all. In fact, without God, we’d probably just be spinning our wheels.
This Sunday’s Gospel includes the Great Commission, which Jesus issued to his disciples after the resurrection and before the ascension. “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.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The etymology of the word “commission” is helpful in considering our partnership with God and the ongoing presence of Jesus. The Latin is com (“with”) and missio (“sending”). Jesus comes with us on the mission. Jesus didn’t simply pass us the baton on his way up to heaven. He joins us in our work on his behalf through the power of the Spirit.
As we offer our praises, our service, and our very selves to God and for God, Jesus is in on the action. He’s still offering himself for us.