Revd Jane Elliott
Gospel reading: Luke 10:1-9
The theme of the service today is Luke the Evangelist.
The first thing to note about Luke is that we don’t really know very much about him, he doesn’t really talk about himself in any of his writings. But one thing we know from Paul, is that Luke is a physician, a doctor. There are some other facts, you might find interesting:
- Luke was probably not a Jew, but a Gentile! His name suggests he was very likely to be Greek.
- If Luke, as suspected is not a Jew, then he is the only Gentile to have written a Gospel of Jesus Christ!
- Luke was not chosen with the other disciples, he did not walk with Jesus, as Matthew and John, he became a believer later.
- When I think of Luke, I see him as a reporter, questioning sources and gathering evidence, until he was able to give in his Gospel, ‘…an orderly account of events.’ (Luke 1:3)
- But then, Luke’s writing in the Book of Acts I see him as a news correspondent giving a blow by blow, up to the minute accurate news report from a campaign trail assignment. Later, take a look at the Acts reading (Acts 16:6-12) and see what you think!
Luke writes from a number of perspectives and one of them is that Jesus was a Man and so knew what it was to be human, but he never negates the fact that Christ was also the Son of God.
Our Gospel reading this morning, like last week there is still an invitation, but this week’s reading shows much more urgency.
We get the sense that the 70 are under the ‘apprenticeship’ of Jesus, the Master and there is a time pressure to hone their ministry, while the Master is still with them.
Their mission was to prepare the way for him, he sent them ahead of him with only his words of being sent to strengthen and comfort – nothing else to rely upon, as they were to travel light, no purse, bag or sandals.
Jesus didn’t hide the hard truth from them either, He is very clear: ‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves,’ yet they were always to give a message of Peace, even if it was not returned.
Just as those 70, when we are called, we are also sent on a mission, but can we trust, let go and let God, just by his Word?
Jesus’ advice to travel light applies to us all. I don’t know about you, but I can’t count how many unused purses, bags, shoes and other stuff that clutter my cupboards!
But Jesus’ invitation to travel lightly speaks to us about our emotional baggage.
BUT there is so much emotional, physical and psychological baggage at the moment! There is so much uncertainty about jobs and the economy, COVID and the information surrounding it, worry for the NHS and care homes, even sickness and death!
How can we not be so burdened and weighed down? If we feel peaceless? How on earth do we offer peace, in word or deed to all those we meet?
Although there are the joys of a birth, birthdays and even anniversaries, pressures and worries can be very overwhelming. So for me, it’s about going back to scripture and Jesus’ teaching of living one day at a time, as there are so many areas of life, although I want to, I don’t have any control over.
And so, with Jesus knowing what it is like to be human, my go to is Matthew 6 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things, and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
It is in living one day at a time – giving thanks at the start of each day, marking our blessings through it and giving thanks at the end of the day, which can open our eyes to see more than our worries, fears and anxieties.
And it is this way of living that helps us not to be, “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) It is then that we are able to offer that blessing of peace to others and confidently say, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you.”
Just as God is generous my prayer is that we always give our peace freely and generously – even as ‘sheep among wolves’. Luke was a physician and I pray that we will also bring healing and peace by, “…Rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. (Romans 12:14-15)
I pray that we will never be indifferent to God’s call and that we will always trust and lay down our burdens at the foot of the Cross, knowing that we are heard, healed, restored and forgiven, and that the same peace we give, is available for us too!