Dear friends in Christ,
A couple of days ago, we celebrated the major feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist. Sometimes he is known as Saint Luke the Physician. I love the way the collect for the day ties together the themes of healing and evangelism:
Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I wonder if we would think of evangelism differently if we thought of it as a way of sharing the “love and healing power” of Jesus Christ. That’s certainly more compelling than inviting people to church so we can have a few more committee members or pledge units! Too often we confuse our internal need for institutional survival with the world’s need to hear the healing and freeing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the church, and it’s critical for the mission of the church that its institutions be healthy. But the structures of the church are a means, not an end. Our mission is to make disciples of all nations. Making disciples means offering the Gospel of Jesus Christ that offers people true healing, freedom, wholeness, and salvation.
Our world sometimes seems overrun with chaos, fear, greed, and violence. What if we were out there more often to share a different way? What if we followed Saint Luke’s example and offered the Gospel as healing? What if we told everyone that we live in a world that is ultimately governed by grace, mercy, hope, and love?