July 4, 2004

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

[1] Later the Master selected seventy and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. [2] He gave them this charge:

"What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands.

[3] "On your way! But be careful--this is hazardous work. You're like lambs in a wolf pack.

[4] "Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage.

"Don't loiter and make small talk with everyone you meet along the way.

[5] "When you enter a home, greet the family, 'Peace.' [6] If your greeting is received, then it's a good place to stay. But if it's not received, take it back and get out. Don't impose yourself.

[7] "Stay at one home, taking your meals there, for a worker deserves three square meals. Don't move from house to house, looking for the best cook in town.

[8] "When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you, [9] heal anyone who is sick, and tell them, 'God's kingdom is right on your doorstep!'

[10] "When you enter a town and are not received, go out in the street and say, [11] 'The only thing we got from you is the dirt on our feet, and we're giving it back. Did you have any idea that God's kingdom was right on your doorstep?'"

. . . .

[16] "The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me."

[17] The seventy came back triumphant. "Master, even the demons danced to your tune!"

[18] Jesus said, "I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. [19] See what I've given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. [20] All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God's authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you--that's the agenda for rejoicing."

[The Message]

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1. How do we talk about the 4th of July this year? It has not been an easy year for entering another's homeland and bringing a greeting of "Peace." Can we see our way clear to interchange the individual and the national? If we do what do we see? There are hazards in conflicted situation and yet we are to follow a path that leads us to safe havens in their midst. So carry your peace with you - leave what you can and keep what is needed - because GOD's door is open to you and to all.

2. From Genesis 10 we can extrapolate 70 nations from the 70 names. These nations are to work, two by two. By extension they might work, a group of two by a group of two or four by four. Pretty soon we will be getting close to a United Nations that works against the snakes and scorpions, the polio and HIV/AIDS, among the hungry and refugees, on behalf of women and children, etc.

3. No matter what peace you can leave or carry with you or what good you scatter about, we are called to rejoice not in our own doing, but in participating in GOD-work. Our names become become written on our name-badge right now; our image of GOD becomes revealed in our lives right now.

This is a different sensibility than having our names in some far-off heaven. Here Heaven has come on Earth and we are rejoicing.

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