Sermon Summary for Sunday, July 8th, 2018 | Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood
On the seventh Sunday after Pentecost we heard Mo. Mary read a rather surprising story from the Gospel of Mark. It tells of Jesus’ visit back to his hometown after he has left his “trade” of carpentry, chosen his disciples, and began his full time ministry of proclaiming the gospel, calling for repentance and giving his loving care and healing to those in need. St. Mark writes that when Jesus entered his hometown and performed his deeds of power the people were amazed. However, their amazement did not turn into praise and glorification; rather they took offense at him. Jesus was amazed at their unbelief, saying “prophets are not without honor except in their hometown, and among their own kin and in their own houses.” Therefore he left there to teach and heal among other villages.
It happens occasionally that someone with whom we have a long relationship leaves and comes back later with new talents, skills and knowledge. It is not uncommon when we encounter that person again to see and treat them as we knew them before, without appreciating their growth and benefitting from their new talents. It is amazing how biblical truths carry forward through the centuries. It happened to Jesus and it still happens today. Mo. Mary reminded us that if we have an experience of this nature we should be careful not to dismiss the opportunity to appreciate the gifts someone of this circumstance can bring us.
In the second part of the Gospel lesson Jesus sends his disciples out two-by-two to teach, heal, and cast out demons. He tells them to take nothing with them but their staff and clothing and to stay at the homes of those who welcome and care for them. He also tells them, just as his experience in his hometown, that if those they encounter do not welcome them or hear their message, they are to leave that place and shake the dust off their feet as a testimony against them. The lesson for us is that our ministry work is of great value to God and is not to be wasted on those whose hearts and minds are hardened. God wants us to bear the fruit of his gospel and outreach to those in need who are willing to accept it so our work can advance the kingdom and glorify our Father in heaven.
As Mo. Mary reminded us, with the love of Christ in our hearts, we are to be the vessels of his mercy and grace in the world so that his great works of power can be done through our eyes, hands and feet to a world sorely in need of all we can do in his name.