Thursday, July 04, 2013
The seventy-two came back rejoicing. 'Lord,' they said, 'even the devils submit to us when we use your name.' He said to them, 'I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Look, I have given you power to tread down serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice instead that your names are written in heaven.'
The 72 messengers of Jesus did not know why they were happy. They really didn’t understand. But Jesus did, and it is easy to see him smiling as he surveyed their innocent ignorance and told them their names are written in heaven
Truth is that they had already experienced a tiny bit of heaven, which is what brought them joy. They knew the joy of giving themselves to the work of life, the labor of God’s Spirit.
They had released the power of God’s kingdom through their acts of blessing and healing. The wonder of the Almighty and All-Merciful had flowed through their hands and arms, their words and hearts.
They had tasted the very essence of the Absolute, cooperating and flowing in the currents of the Mercy whose name can never be spoken because none of us will ever really understand.
We understand only the wonder of the joy that fills and spills from the depth of our being when we share the blessing and healing and loving that comes from the heart of God.
The messengers of Jesus bubbled with joy at having cooperated with the Holy One by healing and lessening the destructiveness that strikes and mars the fullness of life which God intends.
They experienced heaven coming to the broken through their own hands and mouths, and because they, too, were broken like every human soul, they also felt its healing power.
And they were happy, happy to have tasted a little piece of heaven, happy to have carried it to others, happy to know their names are known in heaven by the One who is Mercy.
They knew this is what life is about, and nothing else matters half so much.
Pr. David L. Miller
Wednesday, July 03, 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