April 6, 2023
Many of us are familiar with the idea of "come as you are" to worship God. But what if God also wants to "send you as you are"?
In the first verse of Luke 10 (our foundational Go Local text), those who follow Jesus are sent—but they don’t appear to be especially well-prepared for their mission.
In fact, if I were Jesus at this point, I think I would be sending them back to Pre- Discipleship 101!
They don’t get it. They need help!
Check out Luke 9: Even though they have just been part of a miracle (10-17), declared Jesus as Lord (18-20), and witnessed the transfiguration (28-36), they seem to have at least a few evident misconstrued attitudes and behaviors when it comes to the good news of God’s kingdom.
They are unable to cast out a demon (37-43). They argue over who is greatest (46-48), implying not only a lack of understanding but also a lack of communal trust and unity (even though Jesus’ foretelling of the nature of greatness is recorded only verses earlier about losing your life (21-27)).
Next, they want to torch a Samaritan village (51-56), hardly an expression of Jesus’ unconditional love (!). That’s followed by three excuses for not following (57-62).
“After this” the seventy are appointed and sent (10:1).
We are not sent because, or when, we have it all together or all figured out. We are sent as ordinary village folk and our first priority is to pray.
Luke 9 has called attention to the disciples’ shortcomings, including their lack of “true” understanding, experience, and commitment. But even “after this” they’re appointed and sent. What?
On the one hand, this may be rather disconcerting: “Are these the best you could find, Lord?” On the other hand, pondering this “after this” context can be reassuring. We are not sent because, or when, we have it all together or all figured out. We are sent as ordinary village folk (i.e. as “laity”) and our first priority is to pray (Luke 10:2).
There is no hint of professionalism, expertise, training, certification, or specialization. Jesus sends everyday followers just “as we are.” This releases all God’s people to go, even as we continue to work through our doubts, hesitations, misunderstandings, and “laity” feelings of inadequacy.
As one person on this Go Local journey realized, “We don’t have to have all the answers. We can be vulnerable. We can be as we are.”
How will you "be vulnerable, as you are" in your neighborhood this month? Use this free, downloadable liturgy and reflection to ponder this question.
Karen Wilk is Resonate’s Go Local Catalyzer