One of the passages I often get asked to speak about is one many of us are very familiar with – the Great Commission. As I was reflecting on this passage anew recently I came across a whakatauki (proverb) that I thought echoed some of the same challenges.

Ma te rongo, ka mohio; (Through resonance comes cognisance)
ma te mohio, ka marama; (Through cognisance comes understanding;)
ma te marama, ka matau; (Through understanding comes knowledge;)
ma te matau, ka ora (Through knowledge comes life)

This is one of the common places where a brief English translation does not fully translate the richness of the words in Maori. I will attempt to help you appreciate some of the deeper meaning in this proverb:

Rongo – in Maori the same word is often a verb and a noun. Rongo is most commonly used to mean hear, but it also means to taste, smell, and feel – the full sensory experience. Rongo also means the message and forms the basis of the word Rongopai which is the word used for the 'Good news' or the Gospel.

Mohio – this word means cognisance or basic knowing and is used to describe when you know enough about someone that you would recognise them as they walked in the door.

Marama – often means enlightenment or deep understanding, because the word also means moon (a light shining in the darkness).

Matau – was used to describe when people became expert in one area of community life for the benefit of all the community (e.g. expert in fishing).

Ora – means life, whole well-being.

Now I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on each line of the whakatauki alongside each phrase of Matthew 28:19-20:

Ma te rongo, ka mohio;
   Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
- are we involved in helping others hear the message of good news but also helping them experience the fullness of the gospel so that they might come to recognise who Jesus is? (see also Matthew 25:34ff)

Ma te mohio, ka marama;
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
- We can help people have some knowledge of Jesus but it takes enlightenment by the Holy Spirit to come to a full understanding of who Jesus is.

Ma te marama, ka matau;
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
- maybe an aspect of obedience that we do not recognise enough is the increased giving of ourselves and what we know for the benefit of others.

Ma te matau, ka ora;
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
- it is in this rongo, mohio, marama, and matau that we will know and experience God in his fullness, for he is life.

I pray that we will all experience the truth of Matthew 28:19-20 afresh, wherever God calls us to serve. I pray that you will know ora through the power of God afresh.

Ka korero ano

Val Goold

Tags: Great Commision | Maori | Te Reo | Val Gould

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