The purpose of Traveling with Matthew is to revisit the power of a great story to shape our lives, both in church and society. Unstoried, we lose our way home. In a sermonesque style of engaging with our deep concerns and more common questions, the author seeks to draw us closer to Matthew. We may hear Jesus forwarding the story of Israel as a light to the world. We may see Jesus walking among the least of these with a passion for healing and justice. We may follow as Jesus takes upon himself the crosses borne by the world and in anguish gathers our cries to God. Only then do we walk with the women on those "two legs of fear and great joy" and live by their message "as apostles to the apostles" (John Donne).
Perhaps Matthew may rise on our favorites list of Gospels. Its demands are challenging but not legalistic. Its message is centered in Jesus Christ and related to Israel. Written in a first-century context of conflict and chaos, Jesus in Matthew delivers an urgent call for our lives to matter as blessed by God. With hope to endure, Matthew offers the presence of God for the harassed and helpless of earth. With power as Scripture, "God with Us, Emmanuel" continues to encounter the poor in spirit and creates a worldwide community of healing and hope, light, and joy. Deserving of a fresh hearing, Matthew is truly good news, though not always easy news, for our day.