Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter: Year 1
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” (Luke 10:1 to 11)
I bit off a huge portion of this Bible text from the Gospel according to Luke. But it’s important. It is about mission and it is about message.
In one of my Episcopal Zoom sessions last week one of our participants reminded us of a non Episcopal Church in Fayetteville that started about 15 years ago in a barn. They were very small. Over the years they did the Lord’s work of feeding the hungry of Fayetteville and other such charitable acts outside of their barn. They were sent. They didn’t necessarily try to get people into their Church; they got their people out of the Church and into the streets fulfilling the needs of the people and bringing the Good News of the Salvation of Christ. Now they appear on the evening news from time to time as they help with Covid vaccinations, testing, and other needs of the community. Now they have satellite Churches in several locations around Fayetteville. Now, like the seventy in our reading for today, they are filled with joy because they are doing wonderful things in the Name of the Lord.
The lesson that I am learning from their experience is that the Lord’s work is done where the need is, rather than where we are gathered. Yes, we should come together to worship. It is good and right so to do. But the fruit of our gathering should be made manifest in the help and enhancement of the lives of our neighbors. And we should not do it in order to grow, but rather, grow as a result of doing it.
Life is hard everywhere today. We have racial tensions mounting, a pandemic, and now a gas shortage. It really does feel like we are sent out like lambs into the midst of wolves. But a Church among us has set the example. We would be wise to follow. And even if our efforts don’t help or aren’t appreciated, we are still to let the know that the Kingdom of God has come near.
Let us live to love, more than just love to live, listening to what the spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John