Sunday, July 8, 2018

Two By Two

He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. Mark 6:1-13

Because of recent surgery, my plans to visit my home town and celebrate in our sweet summer chapel had to be scrapped. I have often had to preach on this passage, in the midst of old friends and summer visitors. Yes, it is hard to be uppity among those who know you all to well. Yet, it is also a gift, when I know I can visit with dozens of life long friends, laugh about our foolish, younger days, and delight as if we were never apart. As children, there was always another to go to the beach or for a bike ride, there were always parents asking who we would be with. Now, as parents and grandparents, we watch as the kids wander together, in groups or two by two, laughing at us old people and making their own memories.

Jesus was in his hometown faced with very little respect and much disbelief. He doesn't dwell on it but empowers his disciples to go out, two by two, without any money or backup, to bring good news and healing where ever they went. I am sure they were afraid. They vacillated between fighting and clinging. They were overwhelmed when they discovered that people welcome them, clothed and housed them. They were joyful in their reliance on one another. Our faith and work is done as teams, not as lone superstars. God invites us to go where we are called, taking the most important thing along - a friend, partner or colleague.

Today, I want to give thanks for all the friends, partners and colleagues along the way that helped me in life and in ministry. And a heartfelt thanks for all those who believed, housed, fed and encouraged us as we learn what it means to follow Jesus

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