Wednesday, October 13, 2010
On The Road Again
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Luke 9:1-6
We have known many people over the years who went out on the road with what is called in the theater business "bus and truck" tours. Usually, a long running Broadway show will create one or several other casts and crews to take the show on the road to many cities across the country and sometimes internationally. While the show continues on Broadway, the lesser paid, lesser known actors get experience and exposure on the road in big and small towns and often make a name for themselves while having great stories to tell. The people who have been on tour can tell you what towns are good and bad, which people are welcoming and who to avoid, and are very often great cultural anthropologists. They understand the power in communities and can Describe and evaluate the local societies quite well.
Jesus sends his disciples out to get experience and exposure and to learn their own gifts and power in ministry. They go ill equipped and are to find people and places of welcome where they will be able to practice and deepen their ministries. Life on the road is rough and challenging and Jesus forewarns them that some people and places will reject their gifts. He tells them to not take it personally or as failure. He tells them to simply move on and know that faith and ministry are nurtured (or killed off) by the local community.
Today, I want to remember that we are all sent out on journeys, to use the gifts and skills we have been given, and to know that there will be times and places where the reception and the people are unfriendly and unwilling. It is not that God does not want to heal and renew but that folks have to open their hearts. There is always a choice. I ask God to hear my choice today, that my heart is ever open and my spirit willing to serve. I pray that where ever I am sent today, God can use me for the good of those I encounter.