Today we remember Edmund James Peck, a missionary to the Inuit in Canada for 40 years in the northern Arctic. His mission service began in the later part of the 19th Century and continued until he retired to Toronto in 1921. He died in 1924.
We are told that early in his ministry to the Inuit people he got the feeling that they did not really understand what he was trying to do. One day he overheard a group of the Inuit talking about him. “Oh, him, he came down from heaven to save the Inuit.” He knew that he had not come down from heaven. But from that time on he tried his best to make the last part of what he had heard come true. He had come to bring the message of Jesus’ saving love to the Inuit people. He tried to make it true. I think he did.
Each of us should try to live in a way that will make that same message, the truth of Jesus’ saving love, be real to the people with whom, and among whom we live.
The Gospel reading for today, the last few verses of St. Matthew’s Gospel, is often known as “The Great Commission”. “Go therefore and make disciples …”
A great Japanese theologian, Kosuke Koyama, has suggested that before we act on that invitation we should add, just after “therefore”, words that show why we are going, and that we are acting in the strength of that love. (Cf. Koyama, No Handle on the Cross, p.107, and Three Mile an hour God, p.53.) We are to go in the knowledge of God’s love acting in us and through us. We are to go in the strength of God’s love, the same love that inspired Edmund James Peck whom we remember today. Can you do this?
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