4th Sunday After Pentecost

Lectionary 1st Reading Psalm 2nd Reading Gospel
Anglican lectionary:
2 Kings 5:1-14
30
Galatians 6:(1-6) 7-16
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Catholic lectionary:
(both)
(both)
(both)
(both)
NOTES ON THE READINGS

At this point in Luke’s Gospel the Jesus ministry is gaining momentum and notoriety. While it can be dangerous to impose contemporary social movement analysis on an ancient narrative the reader can sense both excitement and foreboding. As his following grows Jesus hints at trouble ahead. The events of Chapter 9 are significant and noteworthy: a mass feeding, Jesus’ Messianic announcement, Jesus’ prediction of his own death. Amidst such tangible events appears a “heaven and earth” Transfiguration story followed immediately by a “return to earth” healing of a demon-possessed boy. Finally Samaritan opposition to Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is followed by comments on the cost of discipleship (see Bonhoeffer below).

If the theory of discipleship and witness is set out in chapter 9, such theory is put into action, a sort of training run in chapter 10; and the results are interested and amusing: If the harvest is plentiful, great; but the workers need training and guidance. That said, workers are necessary, then and now. Implications for the living of a devout, religious and holy life abound. Luke’s fondness for character study and description are most evident here. Christianity is not simply a set of rules to be followed; it is a way of life to be lived, daily, and yes, some days are better than others.

After conversion comes witness. After discovery of a Gospel Truth which brings life, come both challenges and opportunities. Day by day, one may find welcome and community. On other occasions expect confusion, disregard and sometimes outright hostility. The Christian life, especially one lived with special awareness of climate change, the climate crisis, the use or abuse of power in relation to human participation within creation is for most of us the place where the struggle is now experienced. Hang in there friends; keep the faith; speak up for truth and Creation.

DRAFT SERMON/SERMON OUTLINE

Approach ONE

Several phrases from this chapter have found their place in the history of the English language.

  • The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few
  • I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves
  • Rejoice that your names are written in heaven

Have fun with these. When did you or your listeners last use them? What was going on for you at the time? Certainly for this author, the second  often comes to mind when conversing with climate crisis deniers. The first speaks to the loneliness I feel often here in North America where sometimes the voices for change or reform are few in number or influence. While self-centred, the final verse reminds me of the true spectrum of time, past, present and future. This is good news.

Approach TWO

Tell your own or another person’s story. How and when did you become aware of the climate crisis? What were the triggers or circumstances which raised your awareness? How did you find courage for the fight? What were your crazy missteps along the way? What was your own “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” moment?

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL

Thinking of the Day by day experience of living in God’s world, you could sing

https://youtu.be/ekoHxB4idmg

Many are re-discovering the writing of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, especially The Cost of Discipleship. Quotes relevant for today include:

On witness and vocation:

“To be called to a life of extraordinary quality, to live up to it, and yet to be unconscious of it is indeed a narrow way. To confess and testify to the truth as it is in Jesus, and at the same time to love the enemies of that truth, his enemies and ours, and to love them with the infinite love of Jesus Christ, is indeed a narrow way. To believe the promise of Jesus that his followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenceless, preferring to incur injustice rather than to do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way. To see the weakness and wrong in others, and at the same time refrain from judging them; to deliver the gospel message without casting pearls before swine, is indeed a narrow way. The way is unutterably hard, and at every moment we are in danger of straying from it. If we regard this way as one we follow in obedience to an external command, if we are afraid of ourselves all the time, it is indeed an impossible way. But if we behold Jesus Christ going on before step by step, we shall not go astray.”

On engagement

“Let the Christian remain in the world, not because of the good gifts of creation, nor because of his responsibility for the course of the world, but for the sake of the Church. Let him remain in the world to engage in frontal assault on it and let him live the life of his secular calling in order to show himself as a stranger in the world all the more. But that is only possible if we are visible members of the Church. The antithesis between the world and the Church must be borne out in the world. That was the purpose of the incarnation. That is why Christ died among his enemies. That is the reason and the only reason why the slave must remain a slave and the Christian remain subject to the powers that be.”

A prayer from the Iona Community

Come God
Come walk with your people
for you alone are our strength and glory

AND WE PUT OUR TRUST IN YOU

Come God
Come walk behind us, beside us, before us
for you alone are our shelter and direction

AND WE PUT OUR TRUST IN YOU

Come God
Come seek and find and put us right
for you alone are the light in our darkness

AND WE PUT OUR TRUST IN YOU

Come God
We know you are near
the sound of your footsteps sets us dancing

HELP US TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP YOU

TEXT: THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO LUKE  10:1-11, 16-20

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 labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers 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 labourer 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.’ Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Revd Ken Gray

Recently retired from Cathedral ministry Ken Gray is an active preacher, presenter, blogger, author, photographer and activist. He publishes the bi-weekly ACEN Digest and is the first Secretary of the ACEN commencing that role in 2005. He lives in Kamloops, BC Canada.

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