Tag Archives: receiving

Travelling Light

I am known for my ruthless packing.  We have been asked incredulously at check-in if that is really all the baggage we have for four people.  (and yes I always make sure there is room for things we might want to bring back)  Packing in such a way gives a very tight focus to what you really need, there is no room for “just in case” or options in my luggage.

However, even I would draw the line at not taking a money bag…

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

The Work of the Seventy-Two Followers

10 Later the Lord chose seventy-two other followers and sent them out two by two to every town and village where he was about to go. He said to them:

A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in. Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. Don’t take along a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals. And don’t waste time greeting people on the road. As soon as you enter a home, say, “God bless this home with peace.” If the people living there are peace-loving, your prayer for peace will bless them. But if they are not peace-loving, your prayer will return to you. Stay with the same family, eating and drinking whatever they give you, because workers are worth what they earn. Don’t move around from house to house.

If the people of a town welcome you, eat whatever they offer. Heal their sick and say, “God’s kingdom will soon be here!”

10 But if the people of a town refuse to welcome you, go out into the street and say, 11 “We are shaking the dust from our feet as a warning to you. And you can be sure that God’s kingdom will soon be here!”

16 My followers, whoever listens to you is listening to me. Anyone who says “No” to you is saying “No” to me. And anyone who says “No” to me is really saying “No” to the one who sent me.

The Return of the Seventy-Two

17 When the seventy-two followers returned, they were excited and said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed when we spoke in your name!”

18 Jesus told them:

I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 I have given you the power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you. 20 But don’t be happy because evil spirits obey you. Be happy that your names are written in heaven!

There are two sides in the story – the goers and the receivers.

The responsibility of the goers is to go.  To hear God’s call and commission and go and do what he asks of them.  To go where people receive them and hear God’s word.

So the responsibility of the receivers is to do just that.  To welcome God’s messengers, hear them and provide for them.

For the goers, the messengers, there is nothing they can take that they need.  God and his people will supply.  Spare shoes, extra money – none of that is of any use in the work God calls them to.  Conversely, God’s people are called to care for and support those who are working for God.  If God’s workers are rejected, God is rejected.

So, are you and I goers or receivers?

Are we hearing God’s call, responding, getting out there taking his message to those who need to hear it?  Or are we welcoming people in God’s name?  Providing them with what they need to fulfil his ministry?  Encouraging them and enabling them?

Both are needed in God’s work.  The question is not just which we are, but whether we are doing the role we are called to faithfully.  Together both roles further God’s work in the world.

Are you playing your part?

Lord,
I want to be faithful
in what you call me to.

When you send me out,
to go with your message,
help me to go.
secure in you
and not my possessions
to get me through.

When you send others my way,
may I receive them,
hear them,
support them,
that they may be equipped for the work you call them to.

Lord,
when I go
and when I receive,
may I do it for you

Open Hands

Stephen Cottrell makes the point that as Jesus holds the scorpion, his hands are in the position we would hold them in communion (p62).

Jesus’ complete communion with the Father’s will, and his making possible of our communion, through him, with God.

As we hold our hands, they are open to receive from God. As we hold them out, God gives us the Bread of Life.  What will that Bread of Life look like for us?  What will it mean?  As we hold out our hands, what are we expecting God to place in them?  How will we receive what he gives?

Remember what Jesus went through, that we could receive Bread.  How he dealt with the scorpions, that we could receive life.  He did for us, that which we could never do for ourselves.

These thoughts are reflecting on Spencer’s painting The Scorpion (seen here at the bottom of the second page).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

Getting not Giving

 

When I was younger, I was convinced that becoming a Christian would make my life dull and boring, that there would be so much to give up that it wouldn’t be worth it.

Many people continue to think that following Jesus is about what you have to give up – not what you will receive; about having your own personality taken from you.
There seems to be a similar attitude to Jesus by the evil spirit in this account.  He meets with Jesus, and is immediately worried that he will be destroyed.
Well the spirit might be about to be destroyed, because it is not good for the man, but the man certainly isn’t going to be destroyed, he is going to be released.

Jesus comes not to destroy, but to free.

Perhaps the man had come to see his whole identity by what bound him and held him; perhaps he was frightened to let go; maybe he was worried by what might replace it if he did – but Jesus reassures him, that whatever he loses in his encounter with Jesus will make his life better not worse.
How about us?
Are there things we cling on to that are effecting our lives, that would be better handed over to God?
He will take them and deal with them. Our lives won’t be diminished, but opened up to all God has to give us.

Thank you lord
that you seek only for us to have fullness of life.
Thank you that you take the bad things from us
and replace them with good.
Forgive me
when I try to cling on
to things which I am better without.
Today,
now,
I hand them to you.