Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Every tribe, language, people and nation

For Matthew, writing as a Jew for a largely Jewish audience, the coming of the magi is a striking inclusion. Here are people who worshipped other gods coming to worship Jesus, the Christ for the whole world. This world-wide vision continues through Matthew gospel, right up to the commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:20).
Paul’s calling as apostle to the Gentiles shows the great 1st century ethnic divide has been crossed (Ephesians 3: 9 – notice the ‘everyone’ here): the creation of this world-wide church is designed to show the wisdom of God (verse 10). The worship of heaven will come from every nation and tongue (Revelation 5: 9).
It is in this kind of soil that the Diocesan vision for the 1.5 million finds its roots. The purposes of God are not confined to our churches, or to people like us. As we translate the 1.5 million to a local figure – the number of those in each parish who do not know the love of God in Christ – we think also of those least likely to be already represented in our churches: children and young people, those disconnected from us, or from our communities in general.
The persistent emphasis of these readings, and of the Scriptures in general, is that the gospel is good news for all. Bishop Mark talks about this when he speaks about us needing to search diligently and to be willing to go to the out of the way places. We might pray that in this coming year we will take significant steps in making the gospel known, by our lives and in our words, to those we often exclude. Perhaps part of this will be considering how we can build communities of faith that work well for different kinds of people.

Every tribe, language, people and nation
We pray for confidence to share your Word with others and for the opportunity to proclaim it. Forgive our reluctance, our timidity. We pray for Wisdom to know what should be said and the moment in which to say it. Forgive our reticence, our anxiety. We pray for knowledge of the fullness of your grace and the willingness to live it. Forgive our ignorance, our self-reliance. Be the centre of all we are The Light by which we walk The blessing we bring to others. Through Jesus Christ alone we ask.
Amen