The Way of Love: Go and How to Go

Tonight, we are doubling up on our readings and will be discussing Chapter 5: “Bless!” and Chapter 6 “Go!” of the Rev. Scott Gunn’s book: The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus. As Rev. Gunn points out, Bless and Go tend to overlap quite a bit.


In the gospel story, as soon as Jesus calls the twelve disciples, he immediately sends them out. Matt. 10:1-15. These men, along with others, had been with Jesus for his initial teachings and to observe his initial healings. But the purpose of the Twelve was not to simply follow Jesus around as his entourage. Rather, their purpose was to be sent out and to proclaim that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Matt. 10:6. (emphasis added). He calls them, and he tells them to Go!

The Great Commission:

At the very end – after the Passion and Resurrection and on the cusp of the Ascension – Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission. Matt. 28:16-20. The Great Commission gives us the template for going. He tells us:

i.  Go therefore and
ii. Make disciples of
iii. All nations
iv. Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
v. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo,
vi. I am with you always, to the close of the age.

For tonight, we will discuss each of these six areas and how we as the church can fulfill the Great Commission.

Preparing to Go:

We prepare to Go through the previous five Ways of Love. Only after we have Turned and as we keep Turning can we even begin to Go. Only through Learning, Praying, and Worship do we know and understand what Jesus has taught. We can only disciple others once we have been discipled ourselves. And, as we will also look at this week, the Blessing that we give to those to whom we Go, is simply the Blessing that we have already received.

Going in Humility:

But Going is not simply about us the church telling others about Jesus as if we have all the answers. When we Go, we always Go in the humility that Jesus himself demonstrated. See, Phil. 2:3-11. Luke gives a wonderful story in Acts 10 about Peter going in humility. Peter is summoned by a Roman centurion named Cornelius to speak to his entire household. Romans, and particularly Centurions, are the bad guys, they are ritually unclean, and they would generally be considered last on the list of God’s favorites. Peter goes to Cornelius and in going to others, particularly the outsider, does Peter finally understand that God shows no partiality and that the Holy Spirit cannot be denied to anyone. Peter did not go and simply teach, but Peter went and was taught.

Going within the Church:

Rev. Gunn writes about how Going is not simply a matter of physically going out into our community and our world but going within the church itself. p.99. Part of going out is also inviting people in. Bishop Curry likes to say that we are the “Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement.” The Episcopal Church is not the perfect church for everyone at all times. No denomination is (although there is the old joke about Baptists in heaven). Therefore, the question for us at Messiah (or for those of you at Trinity, St. Phillips, etc.) is how can we as Episcopalians (or Anglicans, Lutherns, etc.) do church is a way that speaks in ways that our neighbors can hear and understand, and speak in a way that is unlike our Baptist, Methodist, or Roman Catholic brethren.

I think that most of us did not grow up within the larger Anglican tradition. Think about what is compelling and attractive about the Episcopal (or Anglican, Luthern, etc.) branch of the Jesus Movement. What is that we can and should be doing better or differently that allows us to speak the gospel into Myrtle Beach and Horry County, particularly in ways that are not being spoken by other branches? How can we do our part of the Great Commission?

Reflection Questions:

Rev. Gunn ends his chapter on “Go” with the following questions:

            1. When is a time you began to go in a way that helped you grow in your faith?

            2. What keeps you from going more readily?

            3. What might you do togo in new ways, more often?


Next Tuesday is our last week in “The Way of Love.” We will start our study of 1 Peter on May 23. For a change of pace and perspective, I have invited Pastor Joshua Sorrows of Conway to lead our discussions.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is a K&W blue plate special: pork chops, applesauce, and cobbler. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here!

The Church is the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members.

William Temple (1881-1944), Archbishop of Canterbury

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