Monday, February 22, 2016

To Be With and Sent Out

 Jesus departed with his disciples to the lake, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
 He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Mark 3:7-19

The challenge of being a servant of God exists in the real tension of community versus mission. We humans are inclined to stay with our own and relish the support and love of our communities and families. At the same time, we are sent forth, alone or with a small group to those who differ from us, those who are broken, needy and sometimes, frightening. The desire to be in relationship and stay close to where we are grounded is often strongest when we are surely being sent. Oh how we ache to stay where we are!

Jesus has gathered his disciples and now names his apostles, his companions on the way. And he gives them authority to cast out demons and to bring healing. He also sends them out. I can imagine they were mightily torn, new to the relationship with Jesus and having watched but not participated in any miracles. They must have been excited and terrified! So are we today. The call of serving God pushes us to places we don't want to go, but also provides for us, love and the support of the community. God invites us to live in the both/and, rejoicing in the love that surrounds us, no matter how far from home we are sent.

Today I ask God to help me find joy in the distance from ground. May we know the love of God deeply today as we venture out in mission to a world in desperate need.

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