Today's Lectionary Text
Luke 10:1-11After this the Lord appointed seventy-two 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; 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 a person of peace is there, 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.’
It was Friday evening and lots of people were getting supper at Freddy’s in Parkville. A group of at least seven teens came in and sat at the booth next to ours. They averaged at least three body piercings each. Quite a bit of bare skin was evident and various colors of hair covered the heads. They did not order anything, and I wondered if they could afford to eat at the restaurant.
Across the floor a group had just eaten. At least three adults – two women and a man – were taking turns rocking two very young babies and helping a toddler finish. As they were preparing to leave there was lots of stuff to gather and take, including diaper bags and two car seats.
In the other direction from them, at two tables and clearly separate from each other, were two adults and two children. One table held a large, curly-haired guy and a tiny curly-haired girl, probably 3½ or 4 years old. The other party consisted of a woman and a girl of 5 or 6. Twice that many other groupings were seated at tables around the room.
This disparate group of people comes to mind in reflecting on the passage in Luke 10.
Jesus sent out 70 persons to many villages and places. They went in pairs to visit various communities. Jesus gave them instructions about the details of their task. He knew the territory might not be friendly and these pairs might or might not experience a welcome.
Nevertheless, they were tasked with carrying the Kingdom of God to each place. Regardless of what form their sharing might take, they needed to make known God’s love.
Are not each of us one of the 70? However, did I bring the Kingdom to anyone at Freddy’s that evening? Had I approached the teens and said, “How’s your summer going?” and listened to the answer?
Would an extra set of hands to clean up have helped the adults with babies and a toddler? I did not even offer, so I do not know. That kind of offer would have been a way to share God’s love and caring.
The woman and young girl looked like they were having a good time. Would a quick smile and a wave in their direction have let them know their presence was appreciated? What about the big guy and the tiny girl? A stop at the table and a quick, “How’s the ice cream?” might have conveyed to them that they were cared about, and thus given to them a glimpse of God’s encouraging love.
Lots of opportunities existed in that fast-food restaurant to tell the story of or to provide an encounter with God’s grace-filled love. Resistance would have been apparent from some, maybe all of the patrons. However, seeds could have been planted and God’s love would eventually sprout and bear fruit. Who knows, for even one of the persons in that room, a small gesture of interest and caring could be just what was needed. At least the Kingdom would have come near.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh, Retired
Prayer for Reflection
You who send us, give us courage to go where we are needed and sent. Use us to spread your encouragement, your amazing love, your peace. Amen.
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