Irish novelist and poet Oliver Goldsmith once said “Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” How true.
But are we left to our own devices concerning our life’s journey, or is there wisdom that can guide us and even inform us of our intended destination? I bet you can guess how I’d answer that question. All too often in our so-called modern age we seem to hear the message that our life is just a blank slate and we have to design our own path by ourselves and discover or even make up our own destination. But our Faith gives us a radically different perspective. We believe we have a Creator, but not just any creator; this Creator loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves!
Look at our Lesson today in Matthew 10:1, 5-8:
At that time, Jesus called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.”
Our Lord Jesus gives His disciples a glimpse into His wisdom about WHO they are in communion with Him. He reveals to them (and us) just where their “Power” comes from; the “Path” they are meant to walk; and the ultimate “Expectation” His followers can expect to achieve!
First, their Power: The Followers of Jesus are meant to do the work that Jesus came to do, and that is relieve suffering, fight against the enemies of humanity, and bring healing to people’s lives. But how are they suppose to do that? By the same power that Jesus has: The Power that comes from communion and union with God the Father. So many times Jesus reveals that He does nothing on His own; He says nothing on His own. He only does and says what the Father reveals. It is the Lord’s union with the Father that provides the authority and power to do the work Jesus does. It’s the same with the followers of Jesus. As we focus on staying, growing in, and participating in our union with Christ, we see our lives becomes a source of healing for a broken world.
Next, their Path: No sense in having thris connection with God the Father if we only hoard it for ourselves. No, the Lord SENDS His disciples out into that very broken world with a mandate to be the physical presence of our Loving God in our very real world. And this Path the Lord sends all of us on is the Path of a purposeful Presence to hurting people. What’s so amazing about this Path is that while I’m serving and loving others, my own soul is being healed by this purposeful obedience to be God’s physical presence to a hurting world!
Finally, their Expectation. As we embrace the Power and the Path of a follower of Christ, we can Expect to experience and enjoy the Kingdom of heaven. And in this Kingdom we boldly declare by our words and our lives that this Kingdom is a place of healing, hope, and love. This isn’t a place where the focus is on me, but on others. The wonderful economy of this heavenly Kingdom means that while my focus is on others; someone else’s focus in on me!
Today, are you in union with Jesus Christ? The whole point of the Mystery of the Church is that Jesus is creating a New Community meant to live out just what life was meant to be in the first place: A union between the Creation and the Creator. This eternal love affair between me and God is meant to be experienced by the whole world, and we, in the Church are meant to lead the way and show just what that kind of communion looks like. By being Orthodox on Purpose we have the Power, we see the Path, and we Expect the Kingdom to be made visible in our everyday lives!