Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
If last week’s scripture lead us to reflect on our responsibilities to care for God’s creation, this weeks reading from Matthew 9 and 10 asks us to reflect on our relationship with our neighbors. The disciples Jesus send out are called on to cure the sick, raise the dead!!, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. It’s pretty clear most of us aren’t going to have a chance to perform any of those last three tasks, but Jesus’s concern is clear. These afflictions – sickness, death, leprosy, demon possession – are the worst trials imaginable in his time and Jesus calls on his followers to relieve the sufferers, to take responsibility for healing. Jesus is not just asking his followers to be do-gooders. There’s a lot more at stake. The kingdom of God is at hand and these actions of healing and care for the afflicted are the signs of its presence. God’s kingdom is a kingdom of healing and well-being, where everyone enjoys God’s blessing. The kingdom is God’s but Jesus’s disciples can participate in making it a reality, not far off in heaven, but right here on earth. It’s quite a vision and quite a calling for all of us. We are given the opportunity not just to participate in God’s realm but also to help make it a reality, now, here, at Fourth and Race and everywhere we live and work. God takes us very seriously to give us such important and meaningful work. So every time we are given an opportunity to heal or feed or care for another, we’re not just being do-gooders, much more we are fulfilling God’s calling to be a part of God’s kingdom, to experience the blessings of life in the kingdom as we share those blessings with others. It is a remarkable and rich life we are given.
See you in church,