November 10, 2011

A Growing Vision for Mission

John 4:1-14, 27-42

“You will be my witnesses in … Samaria…”
Acts 1:8


All of us are raised in a particular culture or subculture. We have language, clothing, music, geography—and many of us have church practices—that are familiar to us. We are comfortable with what’s familiar. Sadly, we often assume prejudices about people from other cultures and places.

Jesus calls us, his missionary people, out of our comfort zones. The people among whom Jesus carried on most of his ministry despised the Samaritans. Jesus’ own journey through Samaria and the encounter with the Samaritan woman in today’s verses give us a profound message. Jesus’ love, which he empowers us to share, knows no boundaries of sinful prejudice or cultural preference.

Churches and Christians in North America, many of whom come out of western European cultures, can fall into sinful prejudice and pride. We easily think our ways of worship and our kind of music set the ultimate standard by which all others should be evaluated.

We served a multiethnic church in New York for seven years. Jesus confronted us with our prejudices and subtle (or not so subtle) feelings of cultural superiority that needed to be confessed.

When we do that and go to the people of our “Samaria” with Christ’s mission of love, we are blessed and enriched. Who lives in your “Samaria”?

Lord, forgive our superior attitudes and prejudices. Help us to appreciate the diversity you have created. Help us to see you in people’s lives. Amen.

About the author — Allen & Lynn Likkel

Revs. Allen and Lynn Likkel have worked in communities across North America for many years—planting churches, nurturing them along, and developing new church leaders. A minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Allen served with Christian Reformed Home Missions for nearly 40 years, and Lynn, also ordained as a minister of the Word, has served to build leaders and new congregations. In November 2010, Allen entered retirement, and the Likkels moved to Washington, their native state. They have four adult children.

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