We have a special broadcast message from our partners in ministry
Welcome my dear friends,
My name is Methuselah,
And you are watching, the Show
Oh, it has been so long! So long!
Good to be here with you again.
Boy, are you in for a treat!
We have a special guest coming out here today,
And I am going to be her interviewer this morning!
Please everyone, let’s all welcome Natalia to the Show!
Well, normally we would need to do social distancing
But I’m just a stuffed puppet, hahahaha!
So, no need to worry!
So, Natalia, how old are you?
What kind of things are you interested in?
What activities do you like to do?
What is your favorite/best subject in school?
What do you wish you could do that you can’t right now?
What do you want to learn to do as you grow up?
Where is your family from?
And their families?
You speak Spanish obviously
¿Aprendiste de tus abuelos o de tu mami?
You are aware that we have been going through some
Strange times as a country, as a world
With the coronavirus
With issues of Racism and violence
What is one hope that you would have for people?
What brings you joy??
So, important to listen to others
To hear their stories, get to know them
Helps to build empathy
Would you believe me if I said that I used to be a swashbuckling dragon?
Using my fiery breath and great wing power to bring fears to my helpless enemies?
Well it was God’s love and forgiveness in my life,
That turned me around and helped me try to do something better with my life
Always good to listen first so we learn about who others are
When we know their story
It helps give a well-rounded picture of who someone is
I am grateful to have gotten to know you better Natalia
And I hope to see you again sometime
God bless you!
And may you walk in the peace of Christ
That’s something that makes me joyful! Makes me want to sing and dance!
One last thing, do you like to sing and dance?
It says we should sing and dance to God
Make a joyful noise
Follow me, put your hands up, no bring ‘em low
Rock to the side then to the other slow
Now we gotta go, but don’t feel bad,
See you next time with Methuselah, on the SHOW!
Wow that Methuselah dragon is very talented!
That was nice to learn more about his story
And about my own daughter too!
Two for one, nice!
In preparation for today I got to go back and reread
The book of Matthew leading up to our passage for today
The story of Jesus ministry
Jesus has been going on a rampage
up to this point in the story
First, he gave his long sermon on the Mount
Teaching the disciples primarily, with the crowds below
Extending his vision of the Kingdom of Heaven
Then he heals a long string of people from all kinds of issues
Including healing a paraplegic man,
And it goes on through the list
muteness, blindness, leprosy, hemorrhaging woman
Casts out demons from people
Cures the insane
Not to mention bringing someone back from death.
Though he claimed they were only sleeping!
He looked at a tax collector, said simply,
follow me, and he did it!
Jesus healed gentiles and Jews without discrimination
God shows no prejudice
Jesus sends his disciples out to do the same as him,
cast out demons, cure people
Receiving no payment
Just as they had freely received God’s grace
Simply getting some food to eat each day
We need to be clear that
this is a specific mission for a specific time and place
They had just experienced Jesus
doing all these amazing things and now he sends them out
We haven’t had their same experiences
But, we can apply the ideas to our own lives,
to our own context
What God is calling us to do, now
First of all, the disciples go forth,
because Jesus had compassion
Jesus had compassion on the people
who needed help around him, the crowds who came
Hoping to get some healing or some teaching
Something new for their lives
Throughout his region of the world
Galilee was not a super wealthy area,
although it was strategically important because of the trade
across the Sea of Galilee,
There was not a whole lot of local benefit for this.
It was also a place where taxes were collected
The taxes were often exorbitant,
putting an already poorer society into further poverty
As you can imagine this could be very tense
Especially as the ones collecting taxes
were their own brothers
Brother betrays brother
Jesus early in chapter 9
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Jesus feels compassion for these people
They need healing in all sorts of ways
Is it not true that poverty often breeds trouble?
Especially for our youth
Insufficient access to quality education and resources
As well as quality job opportunities
it is bound to have consequences…
I am preaching to the choir here I know!
Part of all of this lies in the hearts of the people!
The original “Muckrakers” - McClures magazine
Corporations rising to power with Industrial Revolution
In depth reporting, really got to know the stories
And put a face to an injustice - Rockefeller, etc
Helped to break up the trusts
Because they also did not notice editorialize everything - showed the facts in clear terms, in-depth coverage
Something we could use more of today!
Notice that the disciples not only healed people
They stayed in their homes, In their community
Receiving back from the ones they helped
Something to eat, for their trouble
But they stayed there! They depended on them
Could we say they got to know them?
Heard their stories, shared their experiences
And if the people didn't want to do that,
Well they just moved on, no harm no foul
A little disgruntlement for sure, but nothing too crazy
More like the stereotypical grandfather
yelling at the kids to get off his lawn
Secretly wishing they might actually be interested in him
Or maybe you could picture it like a
famous rapper, Song by Jay-Z as a kid
brush your shoulder off...
Like hey you just give it back to the world
I saw a video a story about the Buddha
He was travelling place to place teaching
In one place, someone came and started yelling at him
Saying he shouldn't teach there, he was a fraud, a sham
He responded: When you give someone a gift
and they do not take the gift from you,
to whom does the gift belong?
Of course, to me, responded the other man
Because I bought the gift.
So, the Buddha responded, it is the same with your anger
If I do not receive your anger
it simply goes back to you, and it is yours to hold.
It only then damages yourself.
When you go in with peace, as the disciples were told to do
It is a much more agreeable transaction
If the person refuses your gift.
Simply receive your peace back and go on your way
And, Jesus says,
They must stay with those who were “worthy”
worthy in Greek is axia:
a. weighing, having weight; with a genitive having the weight of (weighing as much as) another thing, of like value, worth as much:
b. befitting, congruous, corresponding, "it is "worth the while"
c. of one who has merited anything,
The reality is we cannot always take the time
with everything or person.
We need to find what is the most effective use of our time
To bring this Kingdom of Heaven to earth somehow.
If we express peace and seek to be in relationship
and we are rejected, we can simply move on from that place
They are even told to flee from persecution
From the leadership, the authorities
For preaching and healing without a license as it were
And for carrying the people over to Jesus' cause
For Jesus was going to arrive
They just had to push forward as much as they could
Jesus was going to catch up to them
I love the word for that in Spanish: alcanzar
catch up - sounds like I am going to eat some French fries
They are now sheep in a world full of wolves
But they must be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove
Even family will split against family
But a new community based in love of all people
will be formed
The authorities don’t want this to happen
They don't want a new kingdom,
They are benefiting from the old one!
But still the disciples must persevere
Going from town to town
Constantly forward throughout Israel
And Jesus was going to catch up with them
Interestingly as it relates to today
We are told to go to our own people
As the disciples were sent only to the tribes of Israel at first
For Racism, it means that as Caucasians
we need to talk to our own people about these issues
For Sexism men need to be holding other men accountable
For classism, wealthy people should start doing the same
We need to start holding one another accountable
As Jesus certainly promises to do
Cuando nos alcanza, when he, catches up to us
See it’s not all butterflies and rainbows of course
The Original Muckrackers of McClure’s Magazine
Were doing just that:
holding the powers of wealth and privilege accountable
Accountable to the people,
accountable to other businesses they had exploited
While we need to reach out to people who are similar to us
and hold one another accountable
It is also important to build relationships
with people across cultures
Quite different situation than the disciples, but,
I led a group of seminarians in 2013
Visiting Lutheran churches and ministries in Haiti
We were at a guesthouse right outside the city of Thiote
Waiting for our ride to make it to the church
for the Saturday youth group
Ride didn’t come so we decided we would go on our own
I had been one time before 2 years previous so…
We needed to go down the hill, pass through Thiote
And walk down the road to Ansapet,
Then we needed to take dirt/rocky roads to get there
It was a little scary to be honest
Didn’t know what to expect really
We were the only foreigners really
So, we stuck out
We had gone too far but didn’t know it
So, we stopped and asked some people
if they knew Pastor Michelet du le iglese luterienne
They pointed us in the direction of someone else
Who said they knew the Pastor
They called him, and the Pastor sent his son
and others on dirt bikes
They picked us up, and we drove along the dirt/rocky roads
through the forest to the church
This experience helped me to break down some of my fears
I am not suggesting that there are not dangers in Haiti,
It would not be recommended to be out at night
walking as we were for sure
But people are people, all over the world
In reality we have similar dreams, desires,
Most people want some level of peace and prosperity
We have a vision of what that looks like
And so, we often clash
But in that experience, in that moment
I was able to see Christ, I was able to see God’s love
In another country, speaking a different language
That's how I feel right now
I don't know how people are going to react to me
when I go out the front door it seems
But I just gotta give peace wherever I go
I just gotta try and remember to get to know people
don't judge, grow in compassion and empathy for others
I pray that this can bring healing
I can share God's love now
God's mercy and forgiveness
I experience it, and then I go out and share it
And I can trust, that Jesus will meet me there
We can trust, we can push forward in that love of Christ
And God is going to meet us there!!
Like a helpful stranger on the road
thousands of miles from home
Christ will meet us and carry us through
on God’s love and grace!
So, we sing a joyful noise to the Lord
Pointing others to Christ and God’s love.