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Will We Go, Servants Go

This Sunday we hear the story of Thomas retold. The story goes like this —

It is still the first day of the week (The crucifixion and resurrection just happened). Jesus appears to the disciples who are locked up in a room in fear. Thomas is not with them when this occurs. Jesus appears among them and says – “Peace be with you!” he goes on to say, “Receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, get out of here, and go get about the business of forgiving.” (I am paraphrasing here). Thomas comes back to hear this story and is blown away. He refuses to believe unless he can see for himself and experience himself what his peers have experienced. So Jesus appears again eight days later and offers Thomas the same experience. From then on Thomas, who was not locked up in fear, has been known as ‘doubting Thomas.’ What is more, his title has been used to label all who have offered any doubt at any time ever since. – That was a Bad day at the office to say the least!

While much of the world is focused on the one who doubts, I find the more fascinating part of that story is the fact that the disciples were in that room in the first place. They were in there with the door locked as they feared for their lives. Enter Jesus who speaks to their fear – ‘Peace be with you!’ what’s more, he tells them that they have been called, and that they need to go! They need to leave that locked up room. They need to get out there and get about the business of being the loving and embodied presence of the Holy Spirit.

We have three children being baptised this Sunday at St. Aidan’s. Sophia, Declan, and Evangelina will be sent as surely as the disciples were sent that day. I am sure that many of us this past weekend renewed our baptismal vows as a part of our Easter celebrations. We were hopefully also reminded that we are a sent people. We are being sent to the poor the broken, the hungry, the lost, the lonely, the naked, the imprisoned, the sick, the tired, the isolated, the persecuted, and the rejected. We are being sent to be people who will walk into places where others refuse to go and declare in the midst of another’s chaos – “Peace be with you!” I pray that God might dispel our fear. We are often locked inside of ourselves afraid to embrace the baptismal call that God has given us. We are often locked, into our churches afraid of what lurks beyond our walls. Jesus is calling us out of those fear filled places. I pray that we are able to embrace the doubt of Thomas and long to feel the wounds of Jesus. I pray that having felt those wounds, and having experienced the presence of the risen Christ that we might respond by GOING – into the world with the confidence of knowing that we were sent by the great Healer, Lover, & Redeemer. Jesus calls the baptised to seek and serve, to love and respect, to strive for peace and unity, to uphold another’s dignity — the question this week is not about our doubts. It’s about our willingness to abandon our fear and go be the people we gave been called to be. The question is – will we go?

From time to time I like to write hymns. I wrote this one recently and I share it here because our community will sing it this week as a reminder that we are a people who are sent. The second to last verse is specifically related to this Sunday’s gospel reading – but all the verses speak to the baptismal call to GO embody the Holy Spirit’s call to serve others – Enjoy!

In a Room With Those Who Cry
(Tune: Wild Mountain Thyme)

In a room with those who cry, who were lost, forgot, forsaken
sat a Lover and a Friend with a cup to toast thanksgiving
To the body of the Lord, to the people who are broken –
Jesus asks a simple question –
“Can we move to heal the nations?
Will we go, servants go?

 When He fed them on that day, there was little to be eaten,
Just five loves and two small fishes for five thousand yearning hungry
For the body of the Lord, it was shared and it was plenty –
Jesus asks a simple question – “Do we care to feed the hungry?
Will we go, servants go?

 As he hung upon the cross with His body badly broken
Christ forgave his own betrayers as they ran in shame and horror
Of the Body of the Lord, of the times they had denied him –
Jesus asks a simple question – “Can we forgive those who forsake us?”
Will we go, servant go?

 It was evening of first day, and the doors were closed and bolted
Jesus came and stood among them – quelled their fear and gave them comfort
In the Body of The Lord, in His wounds, His tears, His piercings
“Peace be with you, forgive others,” He commissioned all who follow
Will we go, servants go?

As we sing in sacred space, as we pray, proclaim, and journey
The broken still are crying, and the hungry still are yearning
For the Body of the Lord, for the mending of the nations
Jesus asks a simple question – “Are our words no more than tokens?”
Will we go, servants go?
© Kevin George 2012

The Rev'd Canon Dr Kevin George

About The Rev'd Canon Dr Kevin George

Kevin is a priest in the Diocese of Huron. He is currently Rector of St. Aidan's Church. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Kevin is a storyteller, a gift he learned at the George dinner table in his home community of Whiteway, NL. Look for references to the 'holy land of Newfoundland' in his posts as he is proud of his heritage. Kevin is a Bachelor of Education (1994 Memorial University of Newfoundland), a Master of Divinity (1997 Huron University College), and a Doctor of Divinity (2012 McCormick Theological Seminary). Kevin's previous parish appointments were to the Parish of Labrador West in Labrador City/Wabush, NL, and St. Mark's by-the-Lake in Tecumseh, ON. Kevin is married to Catherinanne who ministers for the Roman Catholic Church. It is no surprise then that Kevin is passionate about ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. He is an avid reader, a cat lover, and a rabid Habs fan! Ole, Ole, Ole!
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3 Responses to Will We Go, Servants Go

  1. Kevin – very inspiring message – thanks for sharing your reflection.  One comment I have in general on one of the issues you touched on:  “We are often locked, into our churches afraid of what lurks beyond our walls.” – is that members of our churches are often frustrated in trying to live out this calling because of a lack of simple training in ways and techniques to go out into the world.  It’s one thing to tell a person “go change the tire on that car” and an entirely different thing to tell a person “here is a toolbox full of tools, and here is how you can use them to change the tire on that car”.   In my opinion our dioceses, synods and congregations need to do a better job of making practical, hands on training available to our members to provide them with a level of self confidence to get out into the world as we are called to do.

  2. Kevin – very inspiring message – thanks for sharing your reflection.  One comment I have in general on one of the issues you touched on:  “We are often locked, into our churches afraid of what lurks beyond our walls.” – is that members of our churches are often frustrated in trying to live out this calling because of a lack of simple training in ways and techniques to go out into the world.  It’s one thing to tell a person “go change the tire on that car” and an entirely different thing to tell a person “here is a toolbox full of tools, and here is how you can use them to change the tire on that car”.   In my opinion our dioceses, synods and congregations need to do a better job of making practical, hands on training available to our members to provide them with a level of self confidence to get out into the world as we are called to do.

  3. Kevin Dixon

    Kevin – Thanks for sharing the lyrics of  your hymn “Will We Go, Servants Go.”  I like it!  Keep up the great work.

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