“So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”
Host and Guest
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
Today’s Gospel shows Jesus sending his disciples out into the world to heal and preach and teach, just as they had witnessed Jesus do before them. Jesus sends them with a very short packing list – a walking stick.
Nothing else. No money. No extra clothes. Not even snacks.
Just a stick to make the walking easier.
This seems radical to us today – because we rarely go on a journey without fully preparing. We know where we’re going to stop and eat, where we grab gas if we need it, and there are hotels all along major roads just in case we get tired. We are never reliant on the goodwill and hospitality of others when we travel. But for the disciples, their expectation was that they would receive these things. From God.
They had a walking stick – and God.
And through their travels we learn that a primary characteristic of being a disciple is being a guest.
Not a host. They didn’t start churches and invite people in. They went out and people opened their lives and homes for the disciples and God met them there. In those spaces.
It’s hard for us to put ourselves in that position – because we like to be the host. We like to control how things go and what we eat and talk about.
Today we are asked to ponder what it might look like to step outside of our comfort zone and be the guests in the lives of those we encounter.
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. When is the last time you let someone serve you? (without paying them to do so, like at a restaurant)
2. When is the last time you accepted help from someone when you could not pay them back?
3. What would it look like to go about your day from beginning to end thinking of yourself as a guest? Would it change from your normal way you do things? How or how not?
This week – take some time to think about and reflect on the way Christ has hosted you – how it feels each time you are welcomed to the table as a beloved guest – and then (and this is the tricky part) try to interact with the people around you in the same way.