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Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

Last Sunday, June 18, we looked together at Jesus' assessment that the people around him were "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." I suggested that this was "political commentary" in the spirit of the prophet Ezekiel who lambasted the political and religious leaders of his day for failing to care for those most in need. As leaders apparently were self serving in Ezekiel's day, so Jesus seems to suggest the were in his day. And (purposely choosing not to name names) so I am concerned about similar failures in our day. It is always the most vulnerable who suffer when community leaders turn inward instead of outward. So, what are we to do?

Last week Jesus answered that question for us. "Proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment." The instructions are clear. The way to do this is not always so simple.

This week I am imagining a 'Part 2' to this sermon. What we should do was my focus last week. The Mental/Emotional/Spiritual Framing with which we do our work is the focus this week. 

"A disciple is not about the teacher, nor a slave above the master." we read in this coming Sunday's Gospel Lesson. I think a possible American value is always to surpass one's teacher, but let the Christian heart understand. Jesus has shown us the Way, and one does not surpass Jesus. This is one vital dimension of the spiritual framing with which I believe we must go out.

I like the stained glassed window image shown here to the left. The woman in blue seems to understand humility and discipleship. I imagine the man in the green to be more like me, looking up at Jesus and thinking, "I'm not so sure this is the way I want to do this!" It looks hard.

And indeed, the Way of Jesus is demanding. Just serving others seems innocent enough, but Jesus is clear. "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." Conflict and violence are never Jesus' intent, but they often seems to be the unintended consequence of lives lived with integrity and grit.

So, gird up and head out. "Go! Proclaim the good news ..." says Jesus. For when a disciple of Jesus' - in obedience - heals, speaks and casts out demons the Kingdom of Heaven does indeed draw near!

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

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