If you look at today’s gospel you would see that similar pattern being presented by Jesus.Where does such an approach fit in today?
Jesus had spent a considerable amount of time teaching his chosen few the ways of his kingdom. He had illustrated a new way of living. As time for the closing of his life came closer, he began to hand over responsibility for continuing the spreading of his gospel to his disciples. He directed them in pairs to set out to visit the small country villages scattered across the countryside.
There were special instructions about their method. Firstly go just as you are. Don’t take anything with you. A simple greeting of peace and if peacefully welcomed accept the hospitality. Share the story and then visit others in the district from that same place. And if you have opportunity to heal the sick and tell them that the Kingdom of God has come close.
It was a simple straight-forward method for a simple but highly significant time, the beginning of the spreading of the message.
So what of us? Should we emulate the same method? I would say we certainly should not be locked into the one, as if only method Jesus intended. Two thousand years have created an extraordinary new world. From small rural village we now live in the global village. Its sophistication is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Methods of Communication are familiar to us but beyond our understanding of how it works. Imagine the confusion the first disciples would have as we tried to explain our world to them.
PERSONAL AND PEACE
What remains the same is the value of the personal interaction. We meet people all the time, without having to knock on their door. The core message is found in the attitude of peace. How many can recall the words of the popular piece called Desiderata circulating around early 70’s.
It was a poem dated 1692 and found in a church in Baltimore. Its message captured our imagination as the world began to become so busy in the middle of last century.
“Remember what peace there may be in silence…
As far as is possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons”
“Be at peace with God, whatever you perceive him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul”
POWER & PEACE
We live in a world obsessed with power usually of the most destructive type, yet every now and again we are reminded there is a greater source of power to be found in peace. I find hints of this in today’s story
To me the image of being sent out with nothing but the clothes one wears and the trust that there will be one to greet you implies the unseen movement of God in all things. In the peace of one’s mind, one will encounter it.
Peace is a state of our own heart and it is a window to life’s richest spirit. The call of the gospel is to discover the means to live out of such interior peace. It should not be hard for the gospel itself is summed up in the words, ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.’ His Easter greeting to the disciples in the upper room was, ‘Peace be with you, and he breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit.’
PEACE IS POWER
I suggest that peace is power. Jesus links the gospel message with healing. Peace is the foundation that healing can flow. Maybe in a world that suffered greatly from illness and modest medical care the prayerful means of healing was trusted so much more than in our own day. We are just as keen but we do have an enormous array of healing means, from natural herbs and aroma to medical to therapeutic etc., there is a plethora of methods we employ. I certainly have encountered many experiences that reveal a more mysterious mystical description reported by people
ALL IS GOD
Healing should not be differentiated. All healing is the nature of God, it is the nature of creation, it is a gift of hope and care. We should be people who fashion an expectation always of some new possibility for in Jesus words, ‘The kingdom of god is near.’
ATTITUDE, NOT METHOD
In reading the gospel story today, the message is not in the method, but rather the attitude. Live in peace with one self and ones neighbour and you will discover the touch of God. The kingdom is at hand