Notes from a sermon preached at Bromyard
The disciples were faint-hearted then
And most of us are faint-hearted about it now (we voted!)
Luke tells the story of the first mission
And does it in a very simple way, like a journalist today
Uses Kipling’s six honest serving-men from the Elephant’s Child:
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
Let’s see if they can say something helpful to us
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.
“Seventy” must have been pretty well whole “regular congregation” at the time
All sorts; including women and children? And the faint-hearted.
NB Not sent out alone, and not sent where J himself won’t be going
The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Why does it matter?
Because God so loves whole world
God’s desired harvest not a select crop but a bumper yield
It’s Christ’s passion to see “Thy Kingdom Come”: the Lord’s Prayer coming true
Go on your way.
For the same reason it is urgent
And the moment is (always) NOW
Same sort of big-picture challenge as climate change
Important to recognise that small local actions matter even if issue is global
See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.
Scary? Of course
But Jesus’ implicit message is to trust him
In an innocent simplicity
Perhaps the hardest part of all of the challenge
But at the heart of our faith and trust in God
Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.
Good news is that we are asked to do no more and no less than
Taking good news that a new sort of society is on the way
Like freeing occupied Europe
And in the ordinary places we go to anyway
As part of the ordinary things we do, by the sort of people we are
Very opposite of hit & run: peace & stay
Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Special mention given to meeting needs of sick & their families
As I hope would come naturally to us
We can generalise “cure”: all dis-ease of body, mind and spirit
And care as well as cure
Wonder what that might mean for you in a place like this?
To accept that all of us, many sorts in many ways,
Bring asked by God to work together & with him
To bring love and care to people affected by sickness of all sorts
Right here and now
Or was all that just for 2000 years ago?