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Saints Simon and Jude

Today is the feast day of Saints Simon and Jude, two of Jesus’s disciples that we know relatively little about. They are included in every list of the disciples (although Jude is sometimes identified as Thaddeus), but we do not know any details about their life after Pentecost. According to early Christian tradition, they set out for Persia (modern-day Iran and Iraq) where they were martyred for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

In John’s Gospel, Jude (where he is identified as Judas NOT ISCARIOT) is the last named disciple to ask Jesus a question during the Last Supper. His question is this: “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” (Jn 14:22).

Jesus begins with a simple response: “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” From there, Jesus moves quickly across three of the most beloved sections in John’s Gospel. First, Jesus promises that the Spirit will come to “teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” (Jn 14:25). Jesus then explains to the disciples that he is the true vine and that his followers are the branches. Jesus tells them, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” (Jn 15:9). Jesus concludes by giving the disciples a new commandment: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12).

Jude asked Jesus a question about the ongoing revelation of Christ’s presence in a world of darkness and confusion. Jesus responds with three enduring truths. Listen to the Spirit’s wisdom and keep learning. Stay rooted in my love. Serve one another as I have served you. There’s another way you could summarize what Jesus told his friends at dinner: Know Christ. Love Christ. Serve Christ. Sound familiar?

When we live into our mission to statement to Know, Love, and Serve Christ, we experience the revelation of Christ’s presence in our lives. The true beauty of this revelation is that it becomes a home, a place where God lives with us and works through us. It is a place of strength and security. A place of comfort and peace. A place of belonging. And it’s a home that is meant to be shared with all people, offering everyone the opportunity to participate in the life of God’s Kingdom.

I love Christ Church of the Ascension because it is that spiritual home, that place where we gather to Know, Love, and Serve Christ together. We study together, we worship together, and we take care of one another. We keep the doors to the home open and we’ve committed together to “light the fire” in our hearth, providing a place of warmth and comfort to these seeking refuge from a dark and confusing world.

This home that we share wouldn’t be possible without the generous contributions and efforts of so many people. It can be awkward to talk about finances and pledging, but the truth is that this home—like every home—requires hard work and upkeep. As you consider what you can give to help us continue our mission to Know, Love, and Serve Christ, think broadly. Maybe you would like to help teach a class or explore a new ministry opportunity? Perhaps you could offer your time and your talents to help with one of our ministry teams (Altar Guild, Ushering, Hospitality, Youth, etc.)? And what can you contribute financially to help us carry our mission forward and keep the doors open to all those seeking home?

The second-to-last book in the Bible is the Letter of Jude, and even though it is hard to say anything about this short book’s origin or authorship with certainty, I like to imagine a wise old disciple looking back over his life and ministry. After combatting various heresies, he closes his letter with the heart of the faith: “But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” It mirrors what Jesus had told him so many years before, and it reflects the mission we keep today. Know Christ. Love Christ. Serve Christ.