Sunday

04 July 2010

"Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves." (v.3)

Background

Almost 6 months ago, an earthquake struck the country of Haiti killing over 200,000 people.

When I recently visited the island, I took what appeared to be a picture of a small child in a community of tents. She seemed alone, surrounded by so many things and people that could harm her. The country was in shock. There was destruction everywhere. Some people were sitting looking lost, waiting, not certain what was going to happen next. Many thousands of people had been killed and those who survived were living in tents, struggling to survive on the handouts of international aid.

This was a picture of dependence. Haitians dependent on aid, children dependent on those who cared for them and I was dependent on the people who were looking after me. This scene of mutual dependence was taking place in a context of fear. Fear of how rains would impact on the disaster, fear of violence, fear of aftershocks and fear of uncertainty.

This was an uncomfortable position to be in and one that brought the words of Jesus from today's passage home to me. Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission fully aware of their vulnerability, with a clear and uncomfortable message to declare - "The kingdom of God has come near to you" - ie the time when justice and peace would be established. In the context of persecution and fear in which the disciples lived (under Roman occupation and criticism from their Jewish contemporaries) this was a big ask. And they could take no resources with them except Jesus' message and words of peace. They returned not afraid or beaten, but rejoicing that evil had been overcome by the name of Jesus. Even the tiniest lamb's voice roars like a mighty lion when fearlessly it calls for justice.

Only Korazin and Bethsaida are singled out for condemnation. Places where so much was said and done, and yet places that took so little notice.

To Ponder

Can you remember a time when you were most vulnerable? What could you have done with most of all, and what did you least appreciate?

Saint Francis of Assisi said, "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." How might these words and today's challenge of Jesus transform you and your neighbourhood?

Bible notes author: Revd Tom Quenet

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