July 3, 2022
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
First Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-14
Second Reading: Galatians 6:1-6,7-16
Gospel: Luke 10:1-11,16-20
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Your Names are Written in Heaven
Jesus, is making his way to Jerusalem and He is sending out seventy of his followers ahead of him. These are not the apostles; but other followers, they are to travel in pairs of two, 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 labors into his harvest. Go on your way, See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.”
They are to remain peaceful, but approach carefully.
I had family who lived in Oklahoma on farms and ranches. Whenever we would visit as children, we thought it was great fun to be on a farm. Looking out at the pastures, full of cattle, they were grazing along with not a care in the world.
Some of the farm had alfalfa on it rolled up in these huge rolls of hay, some to sell, but mostly to feed their cattle.
My uncles would take us on a tractor ride and show us around. I think I even drove one with my uncle.
At the time, I didn’t realize how important farms were and when the hay was ready to be cut and rolled up. The timing was important to get it done now. Not later, perhaps after you do other things, but now when the weather was just right, the growing conditions and many other factors. But when the crop was ready, it was harvested.
Time to Harvest
In our gospel lesson this morning from Luke, we are told that Jesus knows that this is the time, that perfect time for the harvest. A time to reap. He sends his followers out in pairs of two. The scriptures tell us, that he had 12 disciples to account for the gospel. We know that there were 12 tribes of Israel. Now Jesus sends out 70 and seventy represent the multitudes of nations beyond Israel.
Jesus says to them “Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace to this house! If someone responds back with peace, your peace will rest upon them.” These disciples, when welcomed into a home, were to stay there, drink and eat what was provided to them. Jesus has given them the power to cure the sick. Tell them that the “Kingdom of God has come near to you” has the ability to cure the sick, to drive out demons.
If evil spirits had been removed from someone, an exorcism, the power of God is invading the evil that exist, expelling the powers of evil. “Kingdom of God has come near to you”. Referring to God’s rule on earth.
He later says again, you might say, drilling it into their heads, 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 disciples made some progress and when they returned, they are joyful and saying “Lord, in your name… even demons submit to us!
He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lighting.
One of the last scriptures where Satan has been defeated. Jesus did not want the disciples to rejoice, but rejoice that “your names are written in heaven.”
As we walk this land as disciples of Christ, we have God in our hearts, Jesus on our mind, the Holy Spirit leading the way and we have the bible in hand, this means, God is not absent from this world, He is standing beside us still working to bring His perfect plan to completion.
So, we need not be disturbed by the pictures of chaos, violence, and wars that occupy our televisions, papers, the Internet, and radios. We know that this is the consequence of human sin and evil.
People have separated themselves and the families from God and the teaching of Jesus Christ about loving your neighbor as yourself.
But never forget: God will speak history’s final word. Every day the world moves closer to the time when Christ will return, Satan will be defeated, and God’s perfect plan will be fulfilled.
No matter how fearful the future is, the Christian knows the end of the story-and it is glorious! Don’t lose heart. The best is yet to be!
We can help build the kingdom of God by living righteously. Individuals and families are strengthened by activity in the church.
We should willingly serve wherever we are, teaching the gospel. Living a Christ life and the Blessings come as we serve in the kingdom of God.
The world is in need to receive peace, to witness universal love and to feel God is close. The world needs what churches offer.
The 70’ followers were not sent out to condemn people, but to offer peace and hope, compassion and love. Last Sunday in our second lesson, Paul’s letter to the Galatians 5:1,13-25
“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another”.
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.
This is what the world needs and what we are called to do.
To bring peace to the world.
We were told they returned to Jesus filled with Joy!
Jesus said, “Your names are written in heaven.”
St. Teresa of Avila’s
Remind us that we now carry on the ministry that Jesus gave us:
Christ has no body on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless others now.
Rev. Lola Culbreath