1 Sunday, July 7, 2013 7th Sunday after Pentecost Pastor Dena Williams Denver, Colorado Isaiah 66:10—14 Psalm

66:1—8 Galatians 6:1—16 Luke 10:1—11, 16—20 Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 10:1 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. 10:2 He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 10:3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 10:4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 10:5 Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house!' 10:6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 10:7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 10:8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you;

2 10:9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10:10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 10:11 '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.' 10:16 "Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." 10:17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" 10:18 He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 10:19 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. 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

The Magic Words As of last Sunday, Luke’s Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. Last week we heard Jesus call to us: “Follow me.” Well, okay,

3 but first we want to make sure we have enough money for the journey and a lot left over for our future. Jesus said, “Never mind that. Follow me!” Well, first we want to make sure nothing in our community is going to change because we want to be comfortable and satisfied and we don’t like change. Jesus said, “Too bad. No time for that. Follow me!” But we need to wait until we can be certain of our future. Jesus said, “Let it go! Follow me!” Akouloo--Follow me! “Why?” we asked. “Why do you call us to follow?” Jesus replied, “So that the Kingdom of God will come among you.” “How will we know? What is it like in the Kingdom of God?” When we follow Jesus, when the Kingdom of God comes among us, the fruits of the Spirit will overflow: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will overflow for us and for all God’s children. Then we will know that the Kingdom of God has come among us. “Well okay” we said, last week. “We will follow you, Jesus. We’ll do our best, with your help, to remember that you are leading. We will do our best, with your help, to follow you. We will follow. So what comes next?

4 Luke’s Jesus continues on the journey to Jerusalem ` and we follow along. ,

The next episode in the story is today’s Gospel: The story about how Jesus sent 70 of his followers ahead of him to visit cities and villages and households. He sent them to share the good news of the Kingdom of God. Apostello umas, I send you . . . to visit people in their houses and offer the peace of God to them. Sounds like something the Mormons or the Jehovah Witnesses would do. Today’s Gospel story makes Lutherans . . . very nervous! Good news—the sort of random knocking on doors that Jesus sent the 70 out to do is not particularly effective in our day and age, in our sort of setting. So, although you’re welcome to give it a try, I won’t be pairing you up with a partner to go door to door as you leave worship today. Jesus sends us to share the good news of God’s love. He says, “Apostello umas.” I send you. Last time I was privleged to share the good news with you, We talked about sharing the good news of God’s love with others wherever we find ourselves during the day—at the bank or grocery store, work or school. We’ve talked about how our primary purpose when we share God’s love is not to recruit new members for our congregation. That might happen, but it is not our primary goal. Our goal is to share God’s love in the world. In today’s Gospel,

5 Jesus says nothing about joining a congregation, he says everything about bringing healing and hope, the healing and hope that comes with God’s love, he says everything about sharing God’s love with others. He tells those he sends to cure the sick and reflect the Kingdom of God. Jesus says something else: “I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” Not very reassuring, is it? Wonder what Jesus means? I think he means that it’s not always easy to share the good news of God’s love. Now there’s something Lutherans can relate to! We are generally bashful about talking about our faith. We don’t want to offend. We don’t want to look foolish. We’re a bit embarrassed, so we say nothing. Now, at this point, today, I originally planned to share with you some additional practical ways to share God’s love, the hope of the Kingdom with others. That was before I spent 28 hours over 4 days last week at a horse show working as a volunteer . . . I served as what is fondly known as . . . the ribbon wench! That means I was privileged to have my photo taken with every winning horse and rider as I awarded them a blue ribbon. There were lovely young ladies on their beautiful horses wearing English riding costumes or shiny Western outfits. As I stood with them and their horses for the photo, I often said, “Congratulations! How beautiful!” They all beamed at me with lovely smiles and shining eyes,

6 excited and pleased to receive a reward for all their hard work training and preparing for the show. I helped attach their blue ribbon to their coat pocket or their tack, helped tie a victory medallion on their horse. What fun! “Thank you!”, they replied, without fail. Then, there were other folks, older folks, folks who know better. Folks who never met my eye, who never responded to my “Congratulations”, folks who literally said, “Give me that!” Hmm . . . How do we welcome others? How do we reflect the Kingdom of God? How do we share the love of the Gospel? Maybe, first, and foremost in the very most basic way— we remember the “magic words”, we remember to treat all people, those we love, those we don’t, in polite and caring ways. We recognize all people as loved children of God, everyday, no matter what. And . . . we need to begin at home. Our spouse or partner, our children, our parents, here is where we are first called to practice welcome, hospitality, politeness, consideration, deep, deep respect for one another.

7 Greet and treat one another with the love of Our Lord Christ at home, and then, then take that love out, into the world. Practice loving respect for one another at home and your children will learn well, they will share God’s love with the world, as well. That’s rather simplistic, Pastor. “Good manners? That’s all you have to say today?” “The magic words—please and thank you? That’s it?!” Well, yes, that’s pretty much all I have to say. That’s the take home lesson, the point, the good news, the Word for today! Good manners, at home and away, will bring the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will overflow for us and for all God’s children. Good manners, faithfully kept, brings the Kingdom of God among us. Hear the words of Jesus: Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this 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.' Now!

8 Wonder what happened to those 70 1st Century Christians sent by Jesus to share the good news? Sent, just as we are sent, to bring peace and welcome and health to others. Sent, just as we are sent, to be polite, to show good manners, to share God’s love. What was the outcome of that adventure? “The seventy returned with joy.” How did they return? With joy! Joy . . . is very good news! Amen

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