This weekend I am guest preaching at Grace Lutheran Church in Sturgis SD. The gospel reading for this week comes from Luke. My sermon is based upon the Gospel story of the sending of the disciples 2×2. I am focused on their reaction upon their return. Below is the brief version of the sermon I plan for worship.
The gospel reading for the week is Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20. But I am going to focus on verse 17: The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” Jesus sent the disciples off 2 x 2. Told them to take nothing extra with them. That they should enter whatever town they come to and if they are not well received they should wipe the dust off their feet and move on.
When they returned to Jesus they returned with JOY. Now I have no doubt in my mind that they had hard times on their journeys. I am sure they faced rejection and perhaps even hatred. Life was not easy every step of the way. But they came back with JOY. They did not come back to complain of their treatment. They came back with JOY.
Too often we, particularly in the church world, cannot get over the past. We lament about how we used to have two full sessions of Sunday school and how VBS was something the whole community looked forward to attending. Or we talk about how we had multiple services each week because the pews were full.
What if we flipped the switch and shared stories of how God is active in our community today. What if we focus on the positive things that we are doing. Let’s share our successes and try new things. Living in the past holds us back. Good things happen every day in churches across the country. Yet we seem to not want to talk about them.
Think about it what are some of the successes you have here? What are some of the good things going on? Do you share those things with your neighbors? Why? Or why not? The GOOD NEWS of Jesus is still the GOOD news. We have a wonderful story to tell. And I love to tell the story. How about you?
We as the ELCA are feeding people every day. The world hunger appeal provides funds to help organizations with funds to provide food and services often to the least of these. I know, the center is a recipient if one such grant. We did a 4-day quick matching grant and that money will be used to feed the kids of our community.
Through the Lutheran Disaster Relief fund, we, as a church, show up at disasters around the world. We have the reputation of showing up early and being the last to leave. We respond. We bring the love of Christ to the hurting, the poor, the hungry the forgotten.
Closer to home through the South Dakota Synod with the Neighbors in Solidarity you support ethic ministries across the state, homeless ministry, prison ministry, and campus ministries. All of which reach vulnerable populations with the Good News of Jesus. We are better as a church when we work together.
So, I hope you have JOY in your life. The joy that comes from Jesus. Let’s change the tune and not focus on the past but rather let’s share the joys and good news that is happening every day. Go tell the good news.
Jesus loves you. This I know for the bible tells me so.