Between Sundays for Week of July 4, 2022
What Jesus asks of us is hard because it’s easy – living simply and vulnerably; relying on grace and hospitality; encountering, engaging and going deep. Jesus doesn’t ask us to climb mountains or ford streams. He invites us to connect to the people we encounter in our lives.
In her sermon on Sunday, Pastor Amy shared the custom among those who practice Islam of greeting one another with a word of peace. And she asked us to consider what words we could use that could convey “peace to this house” with those we meet. She then invited us to practice this each day in the coming week. Using whatever words seem right for you, what happens when you offer peace to the people you encounter in your daily life? How do they respond? How does it make you feel?
God longs to bring restoration, welcome and healing to this hurting world. Through our baptism into Christ, we are the ones God sends to prepare the way for a new creation.
As Jesus prepares to enter the places where God’s restoration, welcome, and healing are longed for, he sends ordinary folk to prepare his way. Pastor Amy reminds us that Jesus doesn’t send them with a list of expected outcomes or accomplishments to work toward. He sends them only with the instruction to go empty handed and to seek others who share peace; to eat with them, to work them, and to offer whatever healing presence they have to give. Jesus’ instructions are intended for us as well!
In a letter to the Upstate New York Synod, Bishop Lee Miller suggests some of the places where we are being sent in our world today. “Jesus still sends the church into the world today to proclaim peace, to sit with those who are suffering, to provide healing through the gifts of God’s people, to be engaged with the world, and to proclaim God’s presence in public places. Therefore, we as a public church respond and give witness to the impact public policies, legislation and litigation make on the lives of our neighbor.”