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July 13, 2013

Our text this morning from the gospel of Luke is the only text in the New Testament that tells about the sending forth of the 70. Why is the number 70 so important? If we see Jesus in the light of Moses, as I feel Luke did, Moses chose 70 elders from the Children of Israel. These elders were given a share of God’s Spirit, and were better equipped to help Moses lead the people of Israel. Jesus was equipping assistants to help with the “New Exodus.” …or was it a new Exodus? The children of Israel so much wanted to be out from under the oppressive reign of the Roman Empire. Jesus was sending the new Septuagint to prepare the way back into the Kingdom of God for all of creation. They were preparing the world to see that God was still in their midst in and through creation. The Kingdom of God knows no boundaries. That was a hard concept then and now. In the world that the first followers of Jesus and for us today, a realm without boarders is a very foreign concept.
Much like the children of Israel, the followers of Jesus did not always want to follow “the plan.” What was “the plan?” Jesus’ ministry was to bring those on the fringes of society back in communion with the rest the mainstream. The Lepers, the tax collectors, the religious leaders, even the women that were forced into prostitution were being reconciled to God and one another. Even though Jesus performed healing’s and taught a radical way to be in communion with God… many wanted the swift hand of God to be on those that got in their way. Mostly the Romans…and now it’s the same thing today…just insert a name of a group the that separates us from one another and from God.
Wow!! Unfortunately, we still see this way of thinking today. However, the heart of the matter is still “peace.” The Roman world of the first century did not want peace, nor do the people in the generations that have followed. Most people are worried about status and this does not lead toward “peace.” Status provides boundaries that separate people. Jesus‘ vision of the kingdom of God was so simple, yet so hard for us to comprehend then…and now. Just watch the news to see how we treat each other in the name of our “religion.”
After closer examination of our text, the word translated “peace” used here is not the normal word for peace. ειρηνη (i-ray-nay) is only used 28 times in the New Testament. The usual word for “peace” is pax. ειρηνη has a much richer meaning than what usually think of when we hear the word “peace.” ειρηνη is to receive God’s gift of wholeness and ties us into the family of God; in other words “peace” is very active, much like our faith is to be active in our lives. Not only to be received, but shared with everyone we come in contact with. We, as the Body of Christ, are to be sharing the ειρηνη that God, through Christ, has shared with us. If we all do this, status and power will not matter, and we will see the Kingdom of God breaking forth all around us. And maybe, just maybe we will be drawn closer to God and to all of God’s created.
In the words of the great poet William Martin Joel:
It’s all about faith and a deeper devotion
Peace can be achieved through faith and devotion.
‘Cause under the love is a stronger emotion
We’ve got to be strong.

Strong to our connection to God and to each other and not let status and ego get in the way.
The power of love and the power of healing…
The healing that only comes through the Gifts of God which make us whole. The wholeness of the community and the wholeness of self in relationship to the Creator of all that is and ever shall be.
There are people who have lost
every trace of human kindness
There are many who have fallen
there are some who still survive
Those that have lost the connection to God and community will always have the opportunity to return to that state of communion with creator and created. Through Christ and with Christ as the 70 he sent forth let us show the world the way back to the kingdom.
Let us Pray.
God of peace and grace; knit together your people into one body. Give us the strength to live into and out the peace you bestowed on each of us, so we can facilitate those we meet in our journeys to see your Kingdom breaking forth all around us. We ask this for the sake of your name; Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Amen.


From → jimmyahornjr

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