The Scripture reading this week is Mark 3:13-19; 6:7-16
The Sermon title is Where Are You Sent?
Early Thoughts: Spreading the Good News takes a lot of people. Proclaiming and growing the Kingdom is a group task.
It has always been true. Being the people of God is a collective effort. Early in the journey across the desert Moses is overwhelmed by the task of leading the people and appoints assistants. And here Jesus shares the load by first appointing 12 apostles (those who are "sent out") and then later sending them out to teach and preach, to heal and cast out demons.
ANd as a result the fame and knowledge of Jesus (which has already been growing steadily as Mark tells the story -- despite the number of times Jesus tells people not to say anything about his healings) grows even more. The work of the sent reflects the work of the sender. Which leads Herod to start to wonder who this rabble-rouser is. The suggestion that it is a resurrected John shows how concerned Herod is about this many and his disciples/apostles. In Jewish thought resurrection is a sign of how God is working to correct the wrongs of the world.
What was true then is still true now. Proclaiming and growing the Kingdom is still a collective task. As members of the body of Christ we are not just around to learn how to be "good" people, we are part of the body of Christ so that we can participate in the changing of the world. Faith is a participation sport.
We gather together to grow in discipleship and to be sent out. Maybe we are not called to cast out demons or heal people. But we are all called to proclaim the Good News. We are called to share the possibility of the kingdom.
Jesus points out that this action is not always well-received. There are times when we need to know that it is time to cut our losses, to try a new audience. But the challenge the church faces is being willing to chance the rejection. If we wait until we are sure the message will be received we will never share it. On the other hand, sometimes we share a message we know to be unpopular over and over again to allow it to work into the consciousness of the listeners (every parent will recognize this tactic--both by using it and by having it used on them). The important part is that we fulfill our calling to take part in proclaiming and growing the Kingdom.
As followers of Christ we too are disciples--learners. As followers of Christ we are sent to live our faith in the world. So where are you sent?