Travel light, but travel with Christ’s authority to preach the nearness of the kingdom and to heal the sick and raise the dead. These instructions to the twelve apostles follow the words in chapter 9 about needing more laborers for the compassionate work that Jesus is doing in the villages.
I don’t remember the words I said, but nervously standing before the city council I spoke of the need to welcome and organize a place for the day laborers in our community. Some did not even want these workers in town, but plenty of people hired them—though some mistreated the workers or paid them unfairly. A group from the churches and community proposed a third way, and I was the spokesperson. I felt the Spirit’s strength and spoke a convincing word. They recently celebrated twenty-five years of a labor center to care for the workers who provide labor for the beautiful hills and gardens of the community.
I imagine the joy of starting the mission described in today’s reading is tempered by the words of Jesus that it will not always be easy. Some will not welcome the message of peace and God’s love. Some institutions and structures of the status quo will turn you over to the religious authorities and local governments. There will be betrayals and rebellions and misinterpretations of the message of peace.
Many times in the Gospels, the disciples are invited not to be afraid, this time in the words “Do not worry about how you are to speak.” From the Incarnation, when God bends low to be with us, to the Resurrection where love is stronger than death, the testimony of scripture is that God not only calls and sends but also is near and gives us the courage to stand firm, to speak of justice, to love kindness, and to abide in God’s everlasting embrace.
Walk with us, Sustaining Spirit, as we respond to Christ’s call “to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives” (the message). Amen.
The readings this week lack a common theme. Genesis recounts the promise of Isaac’s miraculous birth and the fulfillment of that promise—a key story in the history of God’s people. The psalmist cries out with gladness to the Lord, for we are God’s people and the grateful recipients of unending faithfulness. Paul rejoices because we have peace with God through our faith in Jesus Christ. This is not because of anything we have done or could do; rather, God’s love sent Christ to die for us when we were distant from God. In Matthew, Jesus calls his disciples and declares that God’s harvest is vast, but there are not enough workers willing to go into the fields. It is a call for us to go as the disciples did.
Read Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7. How does your faith invite you to laughter?
Read Psalm 100. How do you make a joyful noise to God? Consider trying a new practice of joyful praise.
Read Romans 5:1-8. How has God’s love for you prompted you to “the second movement of the symphony,” to share God’s love with others and all creation?
Read Matthew 9:35–10:23. How are you called to participate in Christ’s ministry of healing?
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