Introduction to the readings for the 90th anniversary of the United Church of Canada, for Sunday, June 7, 2015.
Our first reading this morning comes to us from the book of Jeremiah. Catapulted back some 500 years before the birth of Jesus to a context of geographic division between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, we hear God’s covenantal promise to a discouraged community. Listen deeply to what arises for you as God’s promise to a disheartened people to support them in keeping the law in a new way comes to them through the words of the prophet, Jeremiah.
A reading from Chapter 31, verses 31-34. “I will put my law within them and I will write it on their hearts”
“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt-a covenant that they broke, though I was their Master, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: “I will put my law within them, and I will write on their hearts: “and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” says the Lord; “for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”
Our responsive hymn this morning is found at More Voices, 115 “Behold, behold, I make all things new”
Our gospel reading this morning, comes to us from the author Luke. As Jesus turns his face to Jerusalem, he prepares his followers for their participation in the unfolding in God’s vision of shalom in a hostile and inhospitable environment. Here, he provides them with some new rules for engagement as co-leaders called into the ministries of learning to risk meeting people where they are at.
A reading from the gospel according to Luke, Chapter 10, verses 1-11 “Jesus commissions the seventy”
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself had intended to go. He said to them: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the God of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. “Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And, if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’. But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out in to its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near’.
Reader: The Word of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God, amen.