Sunday, 7 July 2013
Reflection for the 6th Sunday After Trinity
In today's gospel, Jesus sends out some disciples in pairs. They have important work to do - exactly the same work that Jesus does, the prophetic work of healing the sick and preaching the Kingdom of God. We see here the beginnings of the Church's ministry as a share in Jesus' ministry.
If the contemporary Church were sending out a large number of people to do vitally important work, we would no doubt put a lot of planning into it, establish plenty of committees, do a lot of fundraising, and in general make sure the seventy two raw recruits were - to use a piece of ugly management-speak - well resourced.
So what does the Jesus of Luke's gospel do?
He sends them out without purse, bag, or sandals: without the means to keep money or food, making them utterly dependent, They depend for the first part, of course, on God. Later in Luke's gospel, Jesus will teach his disciples to pray for their daily bread. They will also depend on other human beings - on each other, as well as on those who feed them in their houses. Here Luke's gospel anticipates the book of Acts, where we read about the disciples holding their possessions in common, sharing for the good of all.
This passage serves as a reminder to us, at a time of change in the Church, where a lot of thought is going into mission, and where we are experiencing quite a bit of change. Unless our life as a missionary church begins with reliance on God, which finds expression in liturgy and prayer, and is lived out in generous, sharing, communities, it will have little in common with the mission of Jesus.