2 Kings 5:1-11; Psalm 30; Galatians 6: (1-6), 7-16; Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20)
Let us pray: our collect for today
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Our gospel reading today begins with Jesus sending 70 others out ahead of him, to the places that He also intended to go. He is sending them out to proclaim the good news of God’s love, His peace, and the nearness of God’s kingdom…He’s sending them out on a mission...a mission that invites a response with their words and actions that says: “yes, God”…by the grace of your Holy Spirit, I will be devoted to you with my whole heart, and I will strive to love my neighbor, as Jesus is always teaching us.
In today’s story, Jesus tells the ones being sent out…that it will not be easy…some will be ready to pounce on you, to try and discount anything you have to say. Some will make personal attacks on you perhaps, arguing with you about everything you have to share with them. Some will make you angry. But don’t retaliate with hatred. Don’t try to tell them, that they are wrong, and you are right. Just wipe the dust off your feet, remembering the kingdom of God has come very near to them. You brought the good news of God’s love to them, as you were called to do, on that day.
The ones being sent out, may also go out hesitantly, and with fear about those they will encounter, or whether or not, they will have anything worthy to offer them…because Jesus tells them, Don’t take anything: Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals…
Just go… Jesus says…trusting in me, that you will have everything you need for this mission trip: Just focus on the purpose of your mission in front of you…Loving God, and sharing that love that you have experienced and known…with your neighbors. Love God, through proclaiming to your neighbors, in word and action…that God’s love, His peace, and His kingdom has come very near to them…
Indeed… it has always been very near…to all of us…
Believe this, and rejoice in this Good news!
Open your eyes and ears again, dare enough to get out of the way…and let God’s voice do the talking once again…let God’s glory, as made known to us in the people, and the created world all around us…be what inspires us, and brings us home again, as a people united to one another, in pure affection.
Will we be laborers of God’s love, in helping to restore his creation to its original purpose: A world that God has created out of love…for His people, and for their abundant joy….a creation of a beloved community of diverse people, sharing their varied gifts with one another, in ways that reveal God’s love for one another, as God has always loved us?
God’s dream for his beloved community, has always been about His Love for all of us and all of creation. And it has always been about calling our attention to this love that is revealed to us, night and day… that reminds us of His love, and presence that is always among us...
But somewhere along the way, people have grown weary. We’ve stopped believing that there is a God who loves us. We’ve seen too much division in the world, too much hurt, too much anger, too much us vs them. We’ve given up on trying to get along with our neighbor, and instead of going to the places and people who perhaps we don’t agree with, it has become easier to not go…to just turn around…and go to someone that already believes what I do…already looks like me, thinks like me….It has been easier to just argue and keep disagreeing….and leave it at that…and believe that’s how it will always be..
It is tiring work, very tiring at times…and we may never see a solution or an end to this work of loving our neighbors, this difficult work of reconciliation…
But it is worthy work, sharing the Love of God, for all of His people….sharing this love, the only love, that has the power to transform people’s hearts and lives and our communities…
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”. And He tells them to pray…that more laborers will be sent forth…
Will we be one of those new laborers sent forth…will we go out into the world, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to help others discover or rediscover how God is still at work in the world among us, and how he still reveals himself to us, every time, we have the courage to come to the table…and sit down with others, listen to one another, and do the difficult work together, of seeking ways to love one another, even in the midst of not understanding each other yet, even in the midst of our frustration and anger of those who seem to make decisions on behalf of those, who have no voice…those who are oppressed, those who are held hostage by fear and abandonment…
Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth to bring love and hope to those who are lost and lonely?
Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth to stand up for children and families?
Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth to work for the well-being of our communities, and other communities across the state?
Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth:
To bring good news to the poor,
To heal the broken-hearted,
To announce release to captives
And freedom to those in prison.
Will we be one of the laborers sent forth to proclaim the Good News of God’s love for them, bringing the blessing of God’s peace to them, and affirming for them…that indeed ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'
Let us pray that we will all answer the call to be laborers in fulfilling the Mission of Christ: The Mission of all the baptized….Inspiring in each one of us, to go out into the world: loving God and our neighbor….
The Hymnal 1982 - #541 Come, labor on
Come, labor on.
Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,
while all around us waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
"Go work today."
Come, labor on.
Claim the high calling angels cannot share-
to young and old the Gospel gladness bear:
redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
The night draws nigh.
Come, labor on.
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
till the long shadows o'er our pathway lie,
and a glad sound comes with the setting sun,
"Servants, well done."
Rev Julie Platson
St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church