“Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal... The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place.” But he said to them, You give them something to eat.”” (Luke 9:1-2, 12-13a)
GOD’S PART, YOUR PART, MY PART
Jesus sends out his twelve disciples on a ministry of proclamation and healing. First he gave them power - a point not to be missed. And they went out and proclaimed the good news of God being among the people (cf. Luke 4:16-21), and healed folks! When they came back, Jesus tried to take them away for awhile, but the crowd found them, and then Jesus did the same ministry of proclamation and healing. (Luke 9:11) As it grew later, the disciples wanted Jesus to send the crowd away. To be fair to the disciples, they seemed to be concerned about the welfare of all of the people in the crowd. Jesus simply reminded them that they could address the needs of the crowd - with his help. And somehow, with the disciples being guided by Jesus into how they could participate, and with Jesus’ power, five loaves and two fish were enough to feed five thousand!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is my part to do, what is God’s part to do, and what is someone else’s part to do. Perhaps that is what happens when you set out to do something quite big, like walking across the country. I may be planning to do the walking and some speaking and some writing, but I am VERY aware that I cannot do everything. And I am even more aware that without a ton of help from God - orchestrating meetings and people and details in ways that I cannot begin to imagine - there is no way that this walk is going to be successful.
Jesus is sending all of us out into the mission field. Our mission is the same as that of those first twelve disciples: to proclaim the good news of Gods’ presence and God’s love among us, and to be willing agents of God’s healing power. A similar mission does not mean we all have the very same job to do. I don’t help lead the music on Sunday morning, as some of you do. I don’t bake the communion bread, as some of you do. I don’t tell stories to the children during Godly Play, as some of you do. I do not make the coffee and offer yummy treats after worship, as some of you do.
I play a part in God’s healing work of love. You play a part in God’s healing work of love. And God - Creator, Redeemer, and Spirit - plays a HUGE part in bringing healing to our world. God, in fact, is the Author of all healing. With all of us doing our part, transformation happens. People are healed, the earth is cared for, enemies are reconciled, and the poor have good news brought to them.
We’re all in this healing enterprise together - with God and with one another. Thank you for the part that you play!