Genesis 18:1-15/ Romans 5:1-8/ Matthew 9:35-10:4
Do you know what or who Mini Me is? Canadian actor Mike Myers made a 007 parody series called Austin Powers, and Mini Me was the tiny twin of the villain. Due to the popularity of this series, Mini Me became a catch phrase to say when people see two things or two people look alike.
In Korea, we say “goldfish bun.” Goldfish bun is a popular street food in Korea. You put dough inside a goldfish shaped mold and “print out” the buns that look exactly the same, like a goldfish. I started by mentioning Mini Me and goldfish bun because today’s biblical lesson is about the followers of Jesus becoming little Jesuses in the world.
We started today’s reading with a story in Genesis that we learned during story time. Messengers of God came to tell Abraham that his wife would have a son. Sarah overheard this and laughed because the news was so ridiculous. She was too old for childbearing. The Lord said, “Sarah laughed.” Sarah got scared and said, “No, I didn’t.” The Lord said, “Yes, you did.”
The promise of a son and many descendants to Abraham was important because they were to become a blessing to all the nations. From the time of Abraham, which is, in a way, the beginning of Israel’s national identity, the people of Israel believed that they were called as God’s special people to bring God’s blessing to the world. As spiritual descendants of Abraham, it is also our Christian mission to share God’s love and blessing that we have received. The fact that we are God’s beloved and are blessed doesn’t mean we should think ourselves superior to others and try to monopolize God’s blessing.
Apostle Paul taught that we live by the hope of sharing in God’s glory. “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.”
Sharing the glory of God may sound like we are the chosen ones, implying others are not chosen. However, we should remember that the reign of God is not about putting some people above others. The glory of God is based on equality and justice. The glory of God is glorious because everyone is uplifted and share the love and blessing of God. It is not a personal glory. It gives us inner joy and peace instead of wealth or secular success, and mutual prosperity and well-being. It is not glory to God if some people are left out.
God’s glory that is not a personal glory but concerns lifting up all God’s people in mutual glory, requires hard work. That is why Paul said, “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
In order for us all to be blessed and prosper together, we need to work with others and lift up one another. It is often a difficult process because we are all different people. That is why we need to be patient with each other, enduring our differences in the hope of God’s mutual glory. That is why we need the help of the Holy Spirit, as well as humility.
Jesus Calls Little Jesuses
We read a lot about Jesus teaching and healing. On top of teaching and healing, we witness Jesus doing something else in today’s gospel text. God’s reign needs more workers, so Jesus called 12 disciples to be little Jesuses to carry on his ministry. Jesus called them because he was only one person and couldn’t do everything. Jesus still needs us to be little Jesuses in the world. He needs us to feel compassion towards the harassed and helpless for whom he felt compassion, and continue the preaching and healing that he used to do.
Let us listen to Jesus who says to us, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Let us learn compassion from Jesus and the Holy Spirit so that we can become little Jesuses in the world, continuing the ministry of God’s reign that he started. Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so we may learn patience, generosity, and compassion in trying to work together for the glory of God.