ST. BARTHOLOMEW - What’s in a Name?
Son of a Farmer. That’s what Bartholomew means in Aramaic. Farming is something foreign to most people today. We don’t know the long, seasonal nature of plowing the soil to plant a seed to cultivate a crop to reap a harvest. This is slow, messy, low-tech, and God-dependent work. And it is a lot like the work of mission and ministry God has given his Church.
God has planted St. Bartholomew’s in the fertile soil of East Dallas to do the long, slow work of ministry, to engage in God-dependent rhythms of mission, and to reap the harvest of his kingdom in his pleasure and delight.
Freedom of the Children of God. If Bartholomew went by “the Farmer’s Son,” then he probably had a given name. The Church has long held this was ‘Nathanael.’ And Jesus’ description of him in John 1 says he was a “true Israelite in whom there was no deceit,” a child of God who lived in the freedom of God’s love. All this despite Bartholomew’s less than flattering description of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. Free of obligation, Bartholomew would willfully follow Jesus in a journey of discipleship and transformation.
God has called the people of St. Bartholomew’s to live in the freedom of the children of God, to willfully follow Jesus, to joyfully obey his commands, and in the unforced rhythms of his grace to become fully human.
Galilee. It was in this agrarian region of Israel where Bartholomew was raised in the city of Cana. Often overlooked and forgotten and full of people who were the same, Galilee was not a place of political power or financial influence. Yet Jesus went to Galilee to call his disciples.
God has planted St. Bartholomew’s in East Dallas, a place oftentimes overlooked and forgotten, in order to call to himself a people who will follow him.
Head, Heart and Hands. “…that we may love what Bartholomew believed and preach what he taught…” So reads the collect for St. Bartholomew’s Feast Day. The object of Bartholomew’s belief and our love is Jesus; the content of his teaching and our preaching is Jesus, the Eternal Word and Son of God.
The people of St. Bartholomew’s use our head, heart, and hands to express our love for God and neighbor in worship, prayer, and service, and to preach his Holy Gospel.
He Went East. After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Bartholomew went east as a missionary. Church tradition teaches he took the Gospel to present-day India and later to Armenia where he was flayed alive and martyred.
God is calling the people of St. Bartholomew’s to send out missionaries with the Gospel in the same, self-emptying way of our Lord Jesus and Bartholomew, our father in the faith.
We are sent out on mission for him every day of every week. We will send out church planters just as St. Bart’s was sent out from All Saints Dallas. And we will send laborers into the harvest in foreign lands.