|Lent 4||March 26, 2017||Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A||Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41|
|Lent 3||March 19, 2017||Third Sunday in Lent, Year A||Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42|
|Lent 2||March 12, 2017||Second Sunday in Lent, Year A||Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121, John 3:1-17|
|Lent 1||March 5, 2017||First Sunday in Lent, Year A||Matthew 4:1-11|
|Ash Wednesday||March 1, 2017||Ash Wednesday, Year A||Matthew 4:1-11|
|Last Sunday after the Epiphany||February 26, 2017||Last Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 17:1-9|
|Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany||February 19, 2017||Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Leviticus 19:1-2, I Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany||February 12, 2017||Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany||February 5, 2017||Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Isaiah 58:1-12; Matthew 5:13-20|
|Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Reflections on Annual Convention, Susan Tilt||January 29, 2017||4th Sunday after the Epiphany||Matthew 5:1-12|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany||January 22, 2017||Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Psalm 27:1, 5-13, Matthew 4:12-23|
|Second Sunday after the Epiphany||January 15, 2017||Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-12, John 1:29-42|
|First Sunday after the Epiphany, Baptism of Jesus||January 8, 2017||The Baptism of our Lord, Year A||The Book of Common Prayer|
|Epiphany||January 6, 2017||Epiphany 2017||Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12|
|Christmas Day, Year A||December 25, 2016||Christmas Day, 2016||Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1:1-4, Psalm 98, John 1:1-14|
Pentecost 4, Year C
Sermon Date:July 7, 2019
Scripture: Galatians 6:1-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Liturgy Calendar: 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 9
Sending out of the 70
We Christians have a much needed gift from God to carry out into the world today.
And that gift is peace—not just a lack of conflict, or a “let’s be nice to each other while we hate our differences” sort of peace, but God’s peace.
God’s peace is the peace that Jesus brings to the fearful disciples who are cowering in a locked room after his crucifixion. Most of us know the story. Jesus shows up and stands among them and the first words out of his mouth are “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And then he shows them his hands and his side, the places where his body still bears the evidence of his crucifixion.
Jesus sends those disciples out to carry the peace of the Lord into the world.
So here we are, the disciples, and we’re getting sent out too, like those first disciples were sent, newly joyful and full of the Spirit.
And–We are getting sent out like the seventy disciples in today’s reading.
Jesus asks all of us to go, because the need for peace is great, and the workers are few.
It’s our turn to carry God’s peace out into the world.
The peace that passes understanding, and that the world needs, is the peace that God gives us when we depend on God to get through the hard times in our lives. This is the same the peace that Jesus found in his own struggles as he trusted God’s will and suffered and died on the cross.
These struggles and hard times in our lives mark us, just as Jesus bears with him through eternity the marks of the nails in his hands.
But when we accept the hard things in life and hand our struggles over to God, God’s peace will take root in our lives, growing in the place of all the resentment, anger, bitterness, distress, or even fear that may have taken over like poison ivy in our hearts.
As the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Jesus prayed for those men and offered them up to God.
When we pray for our enemies and offer them up to God, and when we do the same for the people we love who drive us the craziest in our lives, God receives our prayers and gives us peace in return.
So I am encouraging us to join together in this sort of prayer.
The next time you feel despair taking away your peace, or anger taking away your peace, I encourage you to pray for the person or the situation that is causing you distress, knowing that God will hear your prayer and offer you God’s peace in return for your distress.
If we keep at prayer, God’s peace in us will add up and grow strong. We will find that we have more than enough of God’s peace to carry out into the world.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a young German pastor and theologian, was jailed by the Nazis in 1943. Bonhoeffer had lived for years with the discipline of studying scripture and praying at the beginning and ending of each day. He continued this discipline when he was arrested and put in prison. Because of the peace of God he had received in prayer over the years, he had more than enough of God’s peace to share with both the prisoners and the guards around him throughout his imprisonment.
In his masterful biography on Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas quotes the camp doctor at Flossenburg who, right before Bonhoeffer was hanged, saw “Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor of his cell praying fervently to his God. I was deeply moved by the way this man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”
The doctor witnessed the death of a man at peace with himself, and his ending, because he had for years been praying to God, handing the hard things in his life to God, and receiving God’s peace in return.
I would encourage you, especially if you are lacking peace in your life, to pray and to offer up to God those things and those people who have taken your God given peace away—and to be consistent about praying those prayers, allowing God’s peace to return to you.
Near the end of his letter to the Galatians, Paul makes this statement.
“May I never boast of anything except the cross of Christ our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…(the old rules of this world are nothing) …a new creation is everything. As for those who follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy.”
This is Paul’s way of saying what Jesus showed to the disciples when he showed them the marks of his crucifixion in his hands and side—that it is through Jesus, through both his death and resurrection, that we receive God’s peace.
This is the peace through which God loves us and forgives us and makes us worthy to be the sons and daughters of God.
Jesus makes us worthy by submitting to God’s will and dying as he did so that a new creation gets born on this earth when God raises Jesus from the dead.
We disciples, no matter how worn out, burned out, fearful, dispirited or conflicted, have been made a part of this new creation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
So disciples, join me in praying to Jesus. Talk with him daily. Tell him about all the things that take away your peace.
Remember that Jesus suffered in this life too, and yet, beyond that suffering was the new life of the resurrection.
We are already part of that new creation!
Never forget that even in the hard parts of life that we must go through, we already are God’s new creation, through Jesus, and the kingdom of God has already drawn near.
God’s peace is at hand, and God wants that peace to be in us and to flow through us.
And the world is waiting.
Resource: Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2010.