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Lady Pastor: Go and share love, acceptance

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Go! Jesus used this word often, so it makes a good starting point for our Lenten series on Jesus' one-word instructions.

Let it be known right at the outset that when Jesus invited people to "Go," he was not inviting them to "Get busier" or "Be distracted" or "Add more to your to-do list!"

When Jesus says, "Go," he usually does so right after he performs a miracle or shares a key teaching. For example, in Matthew 8:13, there's a man who asks Jesus to heal someone in his household. Jesus says, "Go, let it be done for you according to your faith."

The 10th chapter of Mark includes a story about a blind man named Bartimaeus. He asks Jesus to heal him. Jesus then says in verse 52: "Go; your faith has made you well." At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus instructs his disciples with the words, "Go and make disciples." Jesus frequently invites his followers to go.

There are other words Jesus often uses in conjunction with go. Sometimes he says, "Go in peace" or "Go and tell" or "Go and show." On many occasions that Jesus uses the word "go," he is not saying, "Go — get out of here!" Instead, he's saying, "Go — exit this astounding, meaningful encounter and then tell the story. Go!"

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It seems Jesus didn't want us keeping all of our experiences of life and faith to ourselves. He imagined that we might live in such a way that we enter into environments of sharing. Stories are powerful. Telling them. Hearing them. It's transformative.

My friend Kathy knows what Jesus means when he says, "Go and tell." She does so naturally. Kathy is the best storyteller I've ever met. She has witnessed the presence of God all over the whole world; in creation, in people, in new experiences. It's a beautiful gift to hear about her encounters with the sacred.

My pal Fred is a great storyteller, too. He has also traveled and lived in a variety of places in the world. To hear him share about experiences of grace, peace, and diversity is invigorating. He knows what it means to follow Jesus' instruction to go and tell — to leave an experience and then share about it.

Jesus encourages us all to go. Go and tell. Go and share. Go and see. Go and show. Go and imagine. Go and forgive. Go and transform.

It's all too easy to become stagnant and apathetic — to forget we're walking in God's presence every day. Jesus' command "Go!" reminds us that amazing things happen in our workplaces, homes, churches, and schools. And we get to leave those places with joy and gratitude and tell about it.

Experience God's nearness in the week ahead. And then go! Go and share our Creator's love and acceptance with all you meet.

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