After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
- Luke 10:1-12
In the days since Hurricane Ida and its aftermath, I have been at once troubled and inspired. The destruction wrought by the storm is truly disturbing, yet the outpouring of support from Trinity parishioners and the community at large has been inspirational. The food delivered, the physical labor for repairs and mitigation efforts, the calls, and the prayers all demonstrate the best in us. In times of distress it is easy to forget the political strife and dissension that plagues our country. It is easy to forget the disagreements we have with our neighbor.
That said, if we take a step back, it also is easy to look around the world and see many examples of hostility, injustice, and lack of love. Luke tells us that Jesus sent out a group of his followers on mission ahead of him, leaving them in no doubt about the challenges which will await them, how many people will not welcome them. We get a picture of the unredeemed world where peace and love can be hard to find. Do what you can, he tells them, to offer healing, comfort, peace and harmony. Luke's gospel challenges us to be messengers of peace. After the storm debris is removed and the trash is collected, will we heed the call to enter the chaos and strife afflicting someone within or without our own orbit? If we do, then I predict that we will see the Kingdom of God.