In the gospel reading a few weeks ago, Jesus sends 70 of his followers out to the places he plans to go.  They are going to heal the sick, cast out demons, and share the good news that the kingdom of God has come near.  Before they go out in pairs, Jesus gives them instructions and warns them that there are risks to this adventure.  He explains what to do when they are welcomed and when they are not welcomed in a community.  In either situation, to both those who warmly welcome and offer hospitality and to those who do not welcome at all, Jesus tells the disciples are to declare, “the kingdom of God has come near” meaning that God has come close, bringing justice, love, forgiveness, healing and new life.  The world is in the midst of transformation into what God intends for all humanity, for all creation.  This is true everywhere and for everyone. 

I am struck by the unconditional nature of this declaration.  Whether we are eagerly participating and helping to make the world God intends into a reality, or not paying a bit of attention, God and new life have come near.  The love and justice of God are for everyone, whether we understand or not.  God brings forgiveness and healing in places that are non-committal or even openly hostile to God’s presence.  God brings new life. Period. That’s who God is and what God does, regardless of the context or reception God receives. “The kingdom of God has come near.”

In our world things often seem so very transactional.  The notion of getting something for nothing is foreign, even absurd.  God’s way of bringing new life whether we are welcoming or not simply defies what our culture values.  God has always been counter-cultural.  God invites us to reach beyond boundaries to build connections with each other.  God invites us to share the good news that there is another to value people and our lives.  God invites us to remember that we are all precious to God and that distinctions that divide are human creations, not God’s.

May we find joy in sharing the good news that God has come near.  May we live this hope with everyone we encounter, for all are God’s beloved children.

Peace, dear ones.


Weekly Prayer | Jesus sends out 70 disciples    

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