St Matthew 28: 16 – 20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
The Church is apostolic because Christ continues to entrust it with the Gospel and the commission first given to the apostles to proclaim that Gospel to all peoples. (4)
Not long ago, I bought a box of apostle spoons from a car boot sale (I was actually rather excited to find them, somewhat to the surprise of the stall holder!). Such spoons were a familiar part of my childhood, though we never had the kind that were different for each ‘apostle’; Peter with his keys, Andrew with his cross… I realise now, looking back, that the spoons taught me to elide the ‘apostles’ with ‘the Twelve’. I’ve learned since that, even in the early Church, there were others who were called apostles; from Paul to Mary Magdalene. And I’ve begun to take in what it means to think of the Church (today’s church too) as apostolic. The apostles were simply (simply!) those entrusted with the message of the Gospel and this means that any of us who have heard and believed the Gospel might be apostles too.
What’s vital is that we neither confine apostleship to the first century not forget that today’s apostles need to have a strong connection to those first apostles if we are to be confident that we proclaim the same Gospel. It’s liberating, challenging and exciting to discover that you can be an apostle too. It’s also vital and strengthening to know that we are connected to the apostles who carried the Gospel through the ages. ‘The Twelve’, plus Paul and Mary and countless others, are not just interesting historical figures – but co-workers with us in a common project.
The Church is founded upon those first apostles, but in its present earthly community, is formed of apostles too. Not everyone is a natural evangelist, but any of us can live as those who bring good news. As you live your life today take a moment to wonder how you can carry good news. Think about it every time you stir your cuppa…
who called forth apostles
by revealing to them the good news
of God’s saving love,
call forth in me a voice, a life, and a heart
that brings good news to your world
and love to all the people,
in this day and all my days, Amen.