Here, is one of the few places where the disciples are not following Jesus (physically), they are instead sent ahead, as apostles. And, as they are going without Jesus, he gives them the instruction manual of dos and do nots.
“pairs” Jesus doesn’t send anyone alone. A model that we often forget in the church. I have found that it is much easier to staff things, if I get a pair to do it. I have a whole ministry thing modeled on this partnership idea.
“The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” I have to be honest that I’m not sure what this text means. In my context there are far too many ministers for the number of churches out there. I confess I have trouble seeing the harvest as plentiful here in one of the most atheistic cities in the US (Albany, NY).
“Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers” the first thing Jesus asks the apostles to do is to ask God for something….Prayer first is an obvious reading of this.
“Go I am sending you like lambs in the mist of wolves” this day and age I am uncertain as to whether the wolves are the nonChristians, or just people in general. When I look at the news, I certainly feel like I’m surrounded by wolves.
“Carry….” nothing. This one is really difficult for me. I like my stuff. I’ve moved all over, but having my books with me (of which there is a ton) is a comfort. However, if the message is that you shouldn’t be getting into ministry for goods and money, I’m all for it. The relationship of Christianity to wealth is definitely a loaded one.
“Remain in the house” is a great one about not accumulating power. We humans do not do well with wealth or power. We tend to abuse it. We think it will solve all of our problems. It must be hard for the Apostles that they are being sent out into a dangerous situation; success will probably result in power, but they are forbidden form using that power. This is such counter-cultural idea.
“First say, “Peace to this house!” “Cure the sick” “Say to them “The Kingdom of God has come near to you.” are the active commands that Jesus gives. These could be a the basis for any church community. Peace, healing and preaching about the kingdom are each no small task.
“Wipe the dust from your feet.” I have heard of so many experiences where if someone doesn’t want you, you probably shouldn’t pursue them any way. I had a church who decided they didn’t really want a female pastor after I had gone through the entire interview process with me. And of course, I felt like well if they don’t want me, I don’t want them.
However, it makes me wonder in a broader sense, what it means for those who are fed up with religion in general. What do we do with a society that is not sure it needs church (or even God)? This is a big one to wrestle with. This too can be wrestled with verses 16-10
“Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near” God is present, the kingdom will happen, injustice will not last, ancient schemes are even now being broken down. God’s presence helps to bring a kingdom of peace, healing and justice here. And this good news is definitely where I can lay my head.
Actual photo of the Holy Spirit building a nest for your soul to rest.
(Photo by Jasper Doest)
Katy Stenta is a solo pastor at a tiny church that is bigger on the inside in Albany, NY for over eight years and blogs at firstname.lastname@example.org She is also the co-founder of the fledgling TrailPraisers inclusive Worship. When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.
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