Matthew 9:35 - 10:8 The Message Translation
The Harvest & The Workers
Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. This is the list of the twelve he sent: Simon (they called him Peter, or “Rock”), Andrew, his brother, James, Zebedee’s son, John, his brother, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, the tax man, James, son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon, the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot (who later turned on him). Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge: “Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
I find it easier to assign value and give my attention to the next big thing at home or at work,than to stay present and faithful in the day to day. What I see Jesus teaching in this passage is that the healing work is here in front of us: in ourselves, in our families, in our neighborhoods, where we work. It seems cooler to travel far away to do good work, than to show up to work ready to clean a pod or take out the garbage or help someone fill out paperwork to get into housing. It is easier to focus on how the generic public enemy (take your pick: big pharma / big oil / the patriarchy / white supremacy / christian nationalism / capitalism) is ruining the world, than to do the work internally to see how I need to change and grow in order to create a world of greater belonging. The faithfulness of laundry, or putting my phone away to spend uninterrupted time with my kids, or submitting my receipts on time, or closing my computer to really listen to a tricky issue at work can so easily be outshadowed by the next big deadline or the next big fancy meeting. I think of this quote often when I am noticing my balance of attention is off: It's easier to be impressive to strangers than it is to be consistently kind behind the scenes. It's easier to show up and be a hit for an hour than it is to get down on the floor with your kids when you're so tired your eyes are screaming and bone-dry. It's easier to be charming on a conference call than it is to traverse the distance between you and your spouse, the distance you created. - Shauna Niequist I see Jesus inviting 12 normal, messy people into the work of “tenderly caring for the bruised and hurt lives” around them, and I see that we have the same invitation in front of us as well – starting with what is in front of us.
Outward Mindset Application
Be a really good listener today. Talk less. Hear more.
Pathways Toward Centeredness
Simplicity: to uncomplicate and untangle my life so that I can focus on what really matters. Including assessing the things and activities that keep life convoluted, complicated and confusing; and working to simplify these things. What is an area of life that is feeling convoluted, complicated, or confusing? What is one step you can take to simplify in that area?
Questions for Reflection
This week, what is one way that you can focus on your own healing and growth? What is one small but important thing that you have been avoiding?
One of our community practices is to gather every Sunday morning for prayer, friendship, and conversation about the week’s Scripture text. Doors open at 10:30am for coffee and donuts. Our circle begins at 11:00am. We would love to see you there!
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“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.
Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.
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