I am aware that the culture is rushing ahead of me. I looked at a friend’s “I Phone” last night and realized how technologically behind the times I am. I know how to check my emails and surf the web and put posts on this blog. That’s about it. I can only imagine how far behind I will be if I am still around in 20 years. Twenty years ago having a photocopier instead of a memeograph machine was a big deal.
The Gospel lesson for tomorrow gives me comfort in this context where I am tempted to feel inadequate and left behind. Jesus sends his disciples out into the world because “the harvest is plentiful.” He tells them to go without money, sandals, extra clothes, etc. Go as a lamb among wolves. Offer God’s peace. If it is received, well and good. If it isn’t, just move on to the next house.
In the midst of the complexities of this world, Jesus sends the disciples out into the world with something extraodinarily simple: a message and a presence of God’s peace. Bringing in the harvest depends upon people willing to simply embody this message without a lot of fanfare.
In a world of greater and greater technological marvels, people still have souls, and when all is said and done, the care of those souls remains the most important thing.
At the end of the passage the disciples come back to Jesus after their first mission trip into the world. The surprising thing for them is the success they have experienced. They’ve cast out demons and wowed the crowds.
Think of the possibilities for “”furthering God’s kingdom” if I were truly savy in the ways of the world with all the mind boggling leaps and bounds of computer technology, as well as the insights of modern marketing techniques (all the stuff that Leonard Sweet seems to be up on.)
Jesus’ response to the disciples success enchantment is striking: Don’t worry about whether you have success — whether the demons obey your command. Be concerned simply with whether or not your names are written in heaven. You can take that a lot of diifferent ways, but my interpretation would be that having your name written in heaven simply means you are the real deal: that you are connected to God and embody God’s peace. Everything else is secondary, including success and failure. As Jesus said when he sent his disciples out, sometimes your peaceful presence will get a welcome, sometimes it won’t. Don’t worry aboout it. Don’t call fire down from heaven (as James and John wanted to do after the Samaritan village wouldn’t welcome them.) Just keep on being faithful, and in good time, as Paul says in Galatians 6, you will reap a good harvest.