Start by reading chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel and then read what follows, which we hope will aid your reflections.
Chapter ten is another ‘doing’ chapter. Jesus calls us to action. We hear how he sends out seventy-two disciples, telling them to go ‘heal the sick, eat what is offered to you, and tell the people you meet: “the kingdom of God has come close to you”’. Of course, the disciples were wondering if they were up to the challenge; but Jesus reassures them that they need not take a purse, sandals or an extra cloak for the journey, they will have what they need.
What does this mean for us today as modern day women and men? Well perhaps healing the sick is reaching out to each other. So often the expectations put upon us by ourselves and others, baggage from the past and the everyday scars of modern day living can mean that so many of us do not feel good about ourselves. So often people come to our congregations feeling down, despondent, and battle weary from life.
And yet it is when we start to be in relationship with a loving God, and experience ‘God for us’, and ‘with us’ that we start to thrive. Surely this is healing. I believe when we come together to share our spiritual paths, support each other, eat together, and yes, laugh together, then at these times the kingdom of God is amongst us and we are the hands and feet of Christ to each other. Of course this is not just for our Christian community, but to our neighbours outside of the Church, as the parable of the Good Samaritan challenges us.
As Rob reminded us a few weeks ago, ‘it’s all about balance’. Most of us are either a Martha or a Mary. If we are to follow Jesus fully, then we are not to be distracted by the chores of life, including becoming overwhelmed by the work of Church, so much so that we can’t attend to Jesus’ teachings – like poor Martha stuck in the kitchen. Likewise by being a Mary, and only focussing on the spiritual we could sit at the feet of Jesus and fail to follow his call to action. Whatever our gender, we all need to liberate our own inner Martha and Mary, and ensure these two personas are in balance.
We do this by moving to action: liberating our inner Martha as we all play our part as a Minister or Pastor in our church (for I am only one of many Pastors in our congregation).
We liberate our inner Mary when we pause to listen, for we all need to study, reflect and pray – and if we all do this think what a “powerhouse” of spirituality River of Life could be; radiating out from Dorchester, across the whole county. I guess it’s all down to us.