Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sending the Seventy-Two

Today's Reading
Luke 10:1-12

Last week, we read about the "sending of the twelve," which represented the initial phase of the expansion of Jesus' ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing. Those closest to Jesus, his twelve disciples, were trained by Jesus and then sent out to participate in God's mission in the world. In today's reading, the ministry of Jesus is expanded even further as "seventy-two others" are sent forth to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Take Nothing With You
When Jesus sends out his disciples to participate in God's mission in the world, he instructs them to "carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals"...in other words, nothing! A leader in the missional movement, Sara Walker, offers the following insights into these instructions from Jesus:
We are called to have a singularity of purpose. We must leave our baggage behind and focus on the house we enter and the people of peace we are called to be among. What are the purses, bags and sandals that we carry today? Perhaps it is our smart phone and the long list of demands upon our time. Perhaps it is our need to be liked, successful, to have all the answers or to be seen as 'together'. I wonder if as we live with the people of peace to whom we are called, might we need to create space for regular reflection upon our baggage? Are we gathering any new items or notions? What are we "accumulating" that prevents us from the singularity of purpose to which we are called?
Laborers in the Fields
We are called to be laborers in God's mission field and as laborers, we have a limited role to play. No laborer is responsible for every job in the field. There are some who plant, some who water, some who pull weeds, and some who gather the harvest. In our daily lives, there are seemingly small acts of faithfulness and love that often produce fruit that we will never see. We are simply called to be faithful laborers! I offer the following  portion of a prayer by Oscar Romero, martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, for our reflection today:
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own

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