Text: Matthew 10:5-16
For love for the Church
For strength in the midst of wolves
For the vulnerable
Our teaching emphasizes the fact that the Church exists because the Holy Spirit, who brings the presence of Christ to people, knits the Church together. The Church is the Body of Christ because the Spirit has come and makes such a body possible.
Americans tend to think of church as a voluntary association, as a membership organization, because, we reason, we found our way to this parish, not that parish, to this congregation, not that one. Our reasons and thinking made this happen, and while the list of “reasons” may be as varied as we ourselves are, we think that they are “our” reasons.
But what if you have arrived because you are under orders, under a charge? What if you are a part of a parish because Christ sent you? As you think about these questions, keep in mind that we are still early in Matthew’s gospel, and the sending he describes where the twelve are instructed on where they are to go, what they are to say, and what they are to do if they are or are not received is part of the disciples’ training! They are under a Rabbi, a Master who is teaching them both how to share the message of the Kingdom and training them for life in that Kingdom—at the same time. The training is important; the warning about wolves reminds the disciples what they are up against, but Jesus even gives a training hint about that possibility. When you encounter a wolf, be watchful! Be ready! Do not be defensive, but be wise—and in the Kingdom, wisdom rests in the might and love of God.
We are gathered as the Body of Christ, and each of us has arrived in a parish because Jesus has something to teach us, something to show us, something to provide for us. We may arrive because we have news of the Kingdom to share, but our news is not our own, and, in the end, the reasons are not our own. After all, we are disciples, and we are learning how to live in the Kingdom.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks