MATTHEW 9 : 35 - 10 : 8
(4th Sunday after Pentecost)

MT's Jesus journeys to built-up areas as well as MK's villages. The Gospel is for townies as well as farmers & fisherfolk, & vice versa. For pillars of society as well as those on the wrong side of the tracks. If we make & administer policy centrally, be mindful that those at the centre of things, geographically speaking, can lose those 'out there' in the margins. Besides, who sets those margins?

Jesus' good news is of a Rule other than by priests & politicians. It's about love rather than duty, service more than servitude. (As I write this a new Pope is in process of being elected. Many good Catholics of the Roman observance are disquieted at the centralism that's been enforced under the last papacy, & afraid that will be even more locked in by a new administration.) Integral to the Good News is healing. Though we benefit from so many God given gifts of healing mediated through health professionals, 'amateurs' like most of us are also gifted by God with a range of fundamental ministries of healing with spiritual dimensions. Like loving, & caring, & serving, & being compassionate. Gospel without a healing component is hardly Gospel!

Jesus is 'moved in his guts' at the state of the people, deserted & led astray by leaders spiritual & political who're out for pickings. With EZEK 34 ringing in his ears, Jesus shows us a better way, but it will cost him - & us! There's little we can do for the harrassed, helpless, flattened today unless & until God's moved in our guts that much, too.

Gathering the harvest is about bringing to fruition what every stalk, head, grain in every  field has within it. Till we're moved as above, we won't  know how to answer the call with a godly hand rather than a swinging scythe. Part of prayer for workers in the harvest needs to be compassion undergirding any other gifts they need.

The authority Jesus gives the disciples isn't always recognizable as that claimed by some who say they derive theirs from the apostolic band. And, what does an 'unclean spirit' mean in 21st C post flat-earth society? Many Christians seem to  under- stand it as an evasion of personal responsibility? Can we play our part in healing whatever's causing uncleanness today till we face today's issues with today's understandings? 'Uncleanness' can flourish in pew & sanctuary as well as out in our margins. More & more evidence of this is now coming to light. Are we building a church climate in which it's OK to fess up to our personal failings & confusion, & find healing among compassionate friends? Our approach to shepherding, harvesting, & leadership (including ordination) need to be an expression of the God revealed in Jesus. Otherwise Jesus is moved in his guts all over again at our plight.

Our names mayn't be on MT's list, but are we on Jesus' current database. And what instructions does Jesus send us out with? Is anyone off limits? Are all bets off? Can we minister to anybody till we sort out what we're on about? Nor can we do that till we sort out what God's on about. Sort out Godpolitic. That can only happen on the job. In & out of the margins?

Can we help people see that God's Rule sneaks up on us, jumps us while we're looking elsewhere, doing something else. Remember those games of hide & seek when whoever was 'he' or 'she' took us by surprise? God's Rule always jumps us because God's always, "Coming! Ready or not!" Do we who teach others know that at the heart of Gospel?

The repetition of the command to heal, etc, & to trust not in hard currency or baggage, shows how large it looms in Jesus' own psyche. Are we free enough not only to give ourself to others, but also to receive others from themselves?