Rev’d Vicki Terrell
Readings: Luke 10:1-9; Isaiah 35:3-6
Jesus you must be kidding you expect us to go out there with nothing to defend ourselves. You tell us it will be dangerous sending us out as lambs in the midst of wolves and we can’t take even a bag to biff the wolves over the head with! You must be joking! No wonder you say there are not many labourers willing to go. People must be stupid to go!
Yet those of us who follow Jesus are commanded to go out and spread Good News in all situations.
So often the gospel looks like this to us – IMPOSSIBLE – but last week in the gospel Jesus reminded us that for God all things are possible.
This account of sharing the Gospel is an account of mutual sharing of what we have. It is learning to live together as community where all people are included and able to share their gifts.
The seventy are sent out ahead of Jesus and are given detailed instructions on how they are to conduct themselves. They are to go out in pairs, travel light, offer peace to houses where they stay and accept hospitality. It is not until the last verse are we told what the evangelists are to offer to the community. They are to cure the sick and say to them that the Kingdom of God has come near to them.
How many times do we jump to the last verse and think evangelism is just about curing the sick and announcing the Kingdom of God has come near and we forget about accepting the hospitality of the community. At the heart of the Gospel is the new commandment to love another by the building of a new community where we all give and receive. We are called to share the Good News and part of this learning is to receive from as well as give to the community.
Over the last couple months, as part of the diocese wanting to develop links with the disability community, I have started connecting with that community as a priest. Most of the people in this group are part of other groups that I am part of and have been for some time. We have a shared history together thus making it easier to speak about the Gospel with each other.
Maybe you can think of times where you have connected with your friends and colleagues around faith issues. It may be very low key and informal and yet you may be aware of the presence of Christ with you in your conversations with friends, family and colleagues.
Curing the sick and saying to them the Kingdom of God has come near to them comes after eating and drinking and hearing the stories of the community. As we extend hospitality to one another, we experience God’s presence through the love and acceptance of the community. This can be healing in itself. It strengthens our weak hands and makes firm our feeble knees as we help each other to become what God calls us to be. We can encourage each other to be strong and not afraid because the Kingdom of God has come near to us.
As we experience the kingdom of God through our community we are able to share this with others. Many people who are sick feel isolated and a burden and they need to hear the message of love and acceptance. As bearers of this message of hope we need to spend time and listen so the good news of the Kingdom of God can be received with joy!
Yes – we are called out into the dangerous world – however we are not alone. We are given companions to work with. We are to go to communities which offer us hospitality. These resources give us the strength and courage to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is very close at hand!
Rev Vicki Terrell