1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9 heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 `Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.
By the time Luke’s gospel was written (after A.D. 60), the church had entered a new generation of believers. They had limited memories of its start and development. Memories of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Paul’s missionary journeys were fading. Much had changed. Many of the believers wondered what God was up to now, and why Jesus hadn’t returned yet in their lifetime (see 2 Peter 3). They wondered what it meant to be the church now.
Many generations of people since then have asked similar questions. In the story about Jesus sending out 72 followers, we gain some insight into what it means to be the church. We discover the answer when we go into the neighborhoods and communities where we live. We discover the genius of what God has been about since the very beginning—God is at work in the everyday, ordinary places where his people live.
Still today, we are invited to live out and to share the love of God as a community committed to love and peace, and justice. We exist not just for ourselves but to practice what it looks like to be the body of Christ, as people being formed into the image of the Son. We live out the story as God’s missionary people—serving as a demonstration of what God plans to do in and for all creation in Christ Jesus.
Loving God, we come to you as a people who know your love.
For that, we give thanks and praise.
we know there are many in our world who don’t know you.
We bring before you those who are lost,
who feel alone, abandoned, and hopeless.
Some live in our own neighborhoods, our own city.
We pray that we may be able to reach them with the message
that through your grace they might know a different life,
in which restored and renewed, loved and fulfilled,
they might in turn go on to reach others.
© Emma Stephenson 29/06/2022
This reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.