Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself would be visiting. And he said to them, 'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to do his harvesting. Start off now, but look, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Take no purse with you, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, let your first words be, "Peace to this house!"
Recently, I returned from a mission trip with 19 others. Their ages and gifts for ministry varied widely, and each contributed the gifts and heart they had to offer.
We traveled to Oklahoma to offer peace to the wounded souls of children whose lives and community were ripped apart by the merciless winds of a tornado that killed more than 20 and smashed more than a thousand homes.
We went together, needing each other at least as much as the children of Moore, Oklahoma needed us.
This is the way of Jesus. His messengers of peace do no go alone. They live in companionship, knowing how badly they need each other to be souls of grace.
They do not go as conquerors, triumphantly proclaiming success or victory. Nor do they imagine they are better or stronger than the souls to which they go.
They are not burdened by what they own or distracted by those they know. They travel humbly, knowing they are as dependent and vulnerable as those they serve, just as needy and hungry for God’s merciful kingdom.
They go needing basic necessities--food, shelter, safety, receiving hospitality as grace along the way.
And they offer what everyone needs. “Peace,” they say to those who need the peace of God that only comes as we in our naked humanity reach out our hands to give our blessings and to receive the gifts of others.
Twenty long centuries separated Jesus’ first disciples from our journey to Oklahoma, but these truths remain the same.
We went on our mission trip expecting to give a word of peace and healing. Now, it’s hard to say who received more: The children to whom we extended the peace of God, or we who took to the road to give something we little understand ourselves--except that this blessing of peace is to be shared.
In that sharing, the kingdom of God appeared among us, the community of God’s peace where human beings become more fully human and joy lights the faces of people when you least expect it.
Pr. David L. Miller