Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." - John 20:21-22
In the past 30 days, this congregation has participated in two major fundraisers for the upcoming youth mission trip to the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota: The Silent Auction & Spaghetti Lunch and, most recently, the Easter Breakfast. A significant portion of our costs is funded by these events, and we are deeply grateful for the continued support of mission trips like these from this community of faith.
With all of the time and energy spent on organizing these fundraisers, it is important to remember the reason we set out to do mission work in the first place. In a sermon meditation from 1940, theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer reflected on the words of Jesus from this week's gospel reading: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Imagining the community of disciples (minus Thomas) gathered around and listening to Jesus, Bonhoeffer wrote, "There is no community with Jesus that is not at the same time a call to service." That is, any community with Jesus as the center-like ours-is by definition called to service in the world. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
Then, immediately after commissioning the disciples for service, Jesus imparts on them the Holy Spirit. Why is this significant? Bonhoeffer writes: "The one who has fought sin and death, the one who comes forth from the battle won, from the resurrection morn, is able to bring the disciples what no human being could obtain: The Holy Spirit ... Only in the possession of the Holy Spirit can the work of Jesus be done."
As our 46 youth and adults prepare for our week of service this summer, we do so knowing that our mini-community within the larger community of Faith is one called to service and empowered by the Holy Spirit. And we do so with hearts full of gratitude for the support of our congregation in just one of the many and varied ways we live out the baptismal call to "Serve all people, following the example of Jesus."
Jake Bouma, Youth and Family Ministry Director