Did You Hear the One About…? 40 Days with Cartoon Church
Day 39 – Good Friday
From the Scriptures:
Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
I should have noticed it before, but it was only as I began to put together these reflections that it struck me that just as there are Five Marks of Mission there are also Five Wounds of Christ. It was not planned in this way; when the Anglican Consultative Council first put the Marks of Mission together in 1984 there were only four, the fifth one being added in 1980.
For those not familiar with them they are:
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth
Or put more simply to Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, and Treasure.
As I look at them, the fruit of the Anglican Communions response to The Great Commission, I see again and again the life giving cross of our Beloved.
The One who came to ‘Tell’ the Good News of God’s great love was silenced because those words of love were too tender to be heard.
The One who came and ‘Taught’ unlike the other teachers of the day was scorned because of the Truth he brought and so his body was broken in a vain attempt to make him smaller.
The One who ‘Tended’ the wounds of the blind and the lame, the hungry and the bereaved, was left thirsty and hungry on the Cross.
The One who ‘Transformed’ society by welcoming tax collectors and prostitutes, pointed out the greed of religious leaders, and overturned the tables of money lenders, had to be nailed in place to stop him from doing more.
The One who ‘Treasured’ all of creation, welcomed little children, worked wood with his own hands, and multiplied loaves and fishes, had his own blood spilt to nourish the earth.
It was for these ‘sweet injuries’ that he climbed the hill of Calvary and allowed his body to be pierced and broken so that his bruises may call us to a deeper love and a greater usefulness.
I have learnt that it matters not which of the five Marks of Mission I respond to first, each of them will lead to the others. Each of them will also, if taken deep into our hearts, bring us as they did our Beloved, pain and bruises and wounds. But why should we, who are called to ‘love as he loved us’ be surprised that when we love as he did we will be hurt as he was?
Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that Calvary was only for my personal salvation instead of becoming my mission statement as well. It is oh so tempting to, with the hymn writer long to stay at the cross with ‘me and my Saviour’.
Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend.
But I know, if I am indeed to spend all my days in his sweet praise I need to spend all my life in his costly service. The cross is deeply personal and each of us approaches it in very different ways, but for it to have worked its way within us each of us we must move beyond the cross and on to the service of others who have not yet encountered this great limitless love.
Living God, your love flows outwards
In an irresistible stream through your whole Creation.
Help us, with hearts and words and actions,
To proclaim this good news,
And share your work of transformation in the world.
(The Church in Myanmar)
- Look at the ‘Five Marks of Mission’ and see if there are any of them that you or your church are not yet living.
- Write down five things that have hurt you deeply in your life, be they because of others, because of circumstance or because of your own wilfulness. Then place them in front of a cross at which you can pray quietly for healing. When you are ready destroy the piece of paper.
Some thoughts about and the history of the Five Marks of Mission can be found here:
All Cartoons are copyright © Dave Walker. Please visit http://www.cartoonchurch.com if you would like to laugh even more J
Prayers are from the collection ‘Praying with the World Church’ compiled by USPG.
Please support their work by visiting http://www.uspg.org.uk
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
These Reflections, ‘Did You Hear the One About…’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2017