Another Earlier Church Story...

A reading for Wednesday, October 15, 2015: Luke 9:1-17.

Anyone who attends our church knows one of my favorite passages of scripture (well, actually it is my only favorite) is Luke 10:1-12, the sending of the seventy. "Jesus sent the seventy out in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go..."

You might not know about Luke 9 however... Today's lesson is one full chapter before my favorite story but is amazingly similar in the sending of the twelve. Jesus sends his twelve apostles out "to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal." Just as in Luke 10, Jesus tells them not to take along anything that would sustain them but to depend on the hospitality of those they visit. He tells them to bring the good news of God to the world.

They return telling Jesus of all they have seen. Herod and the other authorities are perplexed at the message. Jesus gathers a crowd together, 5000 in all, and asks that the twelve help him feed them with the bread of life. There is so much grace that twelve baskets are left over...

I believe what we see in Luke 9, just as in Luke 10, is the biblical image of the church. More than anything else, I believe this is who we are called to be as the church of Jesus Christ.

Here's what we are to do:

1. We are sent by Jesus out into the world in the places we live and work to tell others the good news of our God and to help heal and transform the world.

2. We are not independent of the world around us, able to live separately from other people and other ways of life, but in fact are absolutely and completely dependent on the hospitality of others and that's what makes life not only possible, but enjoyable and meaningful.

3. Then Jesus gathers us together with others, so that we might tell the stories we have seen and share the ways God is transforming and healing the world around us. There are those that have been sent and those that are yet to be sent (remember chapter 10 is coming).

4. Finally, we are fed with so much grace and so many blessings that there is always more than enough. God is so abundant with blessings that there is grace left over. We are grateful.

This is what it looks like to be the church. It's the story of the twelve, then the seventy, then Paul and the book of Acts, then the first century church spreading across Asia, and the fifth century church extending across western Europe and into England, and the ninth century church moving across eastern Europe and into Russia. It's the story that J.R.R. Tolkien was retelling in the Hobbit, and T.S Elliott wrote in a poem called "Journey of the Magi." It's the story that continues to explode even today across the southern hemisphere of our planet in Africa and South America.

It's my favorite story. It's the Mission of God. It's your story. We are grateful...


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