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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday Focus: Love Among the Wolves

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.  e 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.' "Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."  The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!"  He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.  I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:1-11; 6-20

“Those damned Catholics”: That’s the way the president of a major Mid-west university described Notre Dame. A recent US Army directive reportedly banned Bibles from Walter Reed Medical Center. In filing for tax-exempt status, a mega “media watchdog” organization openly declared it will direct its $20 million budget to discrediting “Christian-influenced ideology.” In popular media, the stereotype “Wasp” has become synonymous with country-club hypocrite; while Evangelicals are dismissed as ignorant, racists. And the most venomous invective is reserved for Christian clergy of every stripe, who are crudely caricatured as contemptible, cartoon low-lifes. This isn’t 1st Century Rome. It’s 21st Century America. And frankly, it’s only kid-stuff compared to the increasingly intense assault against Christians that is spreading world-wide.

In Indonesia Christian schoolgirls are dragged from a bus and beheaded. In Egypt ancient Coptic communities have simply been obliterated. In Sudan Christian villages have been bombed and strafed routinely. In Nigeria entire congregations are rounded-up, gunned down and left to rot. In India venerable Anglican churches are burned to the ground while the faithful are hacked to death. In Palestine, Iraq and Syria, “ethnic cleansing” has reduced Christian communities to a pitiful few, elderly survivors. In this week’s gospel, Jesus warns his disciples that he is: “…sending you like lambs among the wolves.” Two-thousand years later, the pack is still circling. And the lambs are being slaughtered.

Yet Jesus urges us on: The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. In this gospel Jesus tells us that our faith is not a private matter. We are meant to proclaim it in word and deed. In the face of persecution, to be a Christian is not to slink through life in a defensive crouch. We are here to build God’s kingdom, not bury it in our hearts. That’s not empty, tough talk. There is no bluster or bravado in Jesus. There is no macho in his message. In this gospel Jesus does not order us to mandatory martyrdom. At the same time denying Christ is not an option and neither is revenge.

Jesus is telling us that love among the lambs is easy. Love among the wolves is hard. So what to do? The love of Christ is all we have. But it is more than enough, if we work at it every day. He calls us to make a simple one-on-one transaction. When hated, we love. When insulted, we love. When slandered, we love. That is what Christians do. We love the persecuted and the persecutors. Each one of us is the custodian of Christ’s love. We live in it. We build it. We must share it… with the lambs and with the wolves. That’s why we are here.


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