Matthew 9:35-10:8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
9:35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few;
38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”
10:1 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,
6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Sat Navs are a wonderful invention in many ways. Instead of simultaneously trying to read a road atlas and drive the car they allow us to fully concentrate on the road and our driving whilst they give us precise instructions as to how to get to our destination. The problem is, though, that we can get too dependant on them. Some months ago I was driving to a meeting, obediently following all the directions that my sat nav was giving me, when suddenly there was silence and the message came up on screen saying “Signal lost”! As I no longer possessed a road atlas, mild panic soon set in.
Except I still found my way, because I really knew the way. I had been living here long enough; I just didn’t have the confidence.
There's a sense of that in our Gospel reading today. Jesus, we are told, sees the crowds around him distressed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd and he says to his disciples, 'See, the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.'
And he sends them out into the harvest field and their first reaction, I imagine, may well have been panic. Until now, the disciples had been passengers on an exciting journey. Jesus had made all the decisions, he had taken and dealt with all the opposition and the criticism, and he had protected them from all the conflict; but now he says it's time to go out and do it yourselves without me to guide you or sort you out when you get lost. And what did he send those first disciples out to do?
They had to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cleanse the lepers and to cast out demons.
Is that what he asks of us? Well in a literal sense, yes, sometimes. But in another sense this world is in a very bad way. Our society is confused and worried, despite its outward confidence. And the Christian message and presence has a lot to say as much today as ever.
Jesus sends you and me. Not just those who have been on a training course or who have spent a few years at theological college. He sends everyone, and that includes the ones who don’t feel properly prepared, who don’t think they’re up to the job. But that’s what we are here to do. To be sent out. We will not be alone. He sent His Holy Spirit to be there for us and with us, guiding us always. It’s up to us to keep listening and not lose the signal!
The Collect for the First Sunday after Trinity.
God of truth, help us to keep your law of love and to walk in the ways of wisdom, that we may find true life in Jesus Christ your Son. Amen
We remember our schools at this time as they begin a phased re opening. We give thanks for the teachers and school staff who have done so much during lock down to care for those in their care. We pray for all children whose education has been affected and disrupted because of Covid-19.
We pray for those businesses who will re open this week that they may cope with the new regulations. We pray for those who are fearful for the loss of jobs and income and for all who struggle to find enough to support their families.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.