Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
Today we hear the great commission from Jesus, that sending forth, that firm command to go and share the Gospel to all nations. We have seen over the course of history how many folks have been faithful carriers of the Gospel across the world. Some have used the Gospel for their own increase, and some in ignorance or greed have done great damage spreading the Gospel. The road ahead is never easy. We are asked first to love (the greatest and first commandment) and then to forgive, whatever the circumstances whom ever the people. We are directed as disciples to go forth, but the path is always challenging and there are bumps in the road. God invites us today to be strong in our faith, sharing with love and compassion the love we have been given.
So, for all of those who have lost they way, or those who are struggling in faith, and for all those who do not know where they are being sent, and are not clear where they are being lead - for all of us and more -I offer one of my favorite hymns of all times. From the heart of those who have known tremendous struggle and horrible abuse and who have remained faithful and hopeful I offer this anthem today.May we sing it as a prayer, and as St. Francis noted, when you sing you pray twice.
Lift Every Voice and Sing
Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heav'n ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith
that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope
that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast’ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way
that with tears has been watered.
We have come, treading our path
thro’ the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from a gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam
of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places
Our God where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world
we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.