Here’s the last Wednesday Wisdom for June.
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.
He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers 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 into 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.’
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!”
He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.
See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
How We Heal
“Jesus went through all their towns proclaiming good news … and making people well.” – Matthew 9:35
The truth about human beings is that we’re broken. The larger truth is that we heal. The even larger truth is that we heal each other. We have the power, often by the simplest of acts, to help each other heal.
The gospels’ most vivid stories are about healing. We call them ‘miracles,’ and they are, but not just because the lame walk the blind see, and the deaf hear. It’s the way those things happen, so close, so human. Jesus lifts people to their feet, applies salve to their eyes, touches their ears.
The miracle isn’t the healing. The miracle is that one person decides not to stand aloof from another person’s pain. The wonder isn’t that people are healed, it’s that they’re loved like that. The greatest need we have is to be treated with care, treated like human beings, but because that’s so rare, when it happens it seems miraculous.
We say, ‘If you have your health, you have everything.’ That’s not true. Some people aren’t healthy, but they have something many healthy people would gladly trade for—people who pray for them, accompany them, don’t forget them: a circle of care. In such circles even people facing death may experience a kind of healing, even the dying find the blessing of life.
Jesus didn’t heal everyone, but he showed us the new kind of life that can be ours when we don’t retreat into one-person worlds. And he gathered the church as a circle of care to give that life away, hand to hand, heart to heart. It’s how we heal—by the company we keep.
Encircle us with care, merciful Jesus, and make the church a healer, good company for the world.
As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse
I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.
I get a glass from a cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,
and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow
so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.
Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,
singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude.