In the Gospel today, Jesus sends out 70 followers on a mission trip. They are to go and proclaim the nearness of God’s kingdom, to heal the sick and cast out demons as signs of that nearness. They are sent to share peace and fellowship with any who are receptive. At the end of today’s lesson, the 70 return with joy reporting that even the demons submitted to them in Jesus’ name. Jesus rejoices with them but ends by saying this, “do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Your names are written in heaven.
Today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Galatians has echoes of this. Paul writes these famous words, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ, there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” The words of the hymn say it so wonderfully, “In Christ there is no East or West, in Him no South or North, but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.” We’re going to sing that one at the end of the service. As today is June 19, we remember the delayed freedom of the slaves in Texas, 151 years later, we remember that freedom is still delayed for many in our nation, many in our world.
So how are you and I called to be holy interrupters? To be Christ-like in that way for one another. The first thing to remember is that it’s not because we’re right, it’s because we feel a sense of compassion. So the first thing to do is really take time in our lives to feel the compassion within ourselves and others of the suffering of the world. There’s so much that it can be overwhelming sometimes and we might have to pick and choose where we’re really going to focus our attention. Then we find ways to listen for how the Spirit maybe calling us to interrupt, to disrupt a disaster. Maybe a minor disaster, maybe a major disaster. Maybe it’s as simple as when we feel ourselves going down that downward spiral of negativity, stopping ourselves. Or when we see a friend say, “Wait a minute, you’re right on schedule.”
How in God’s name do we live together? We have been pondering these words for the last several months. It has been the theme of our program year which began in September. Today, as we celebrate Trinity Sunday, it’s a good time to think specifically about the words, “in God’s name.” How in God’s name do we live together? When we live in God’s name, we are living in the name of the Trinity.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus prays to God in these words: “The glory you have given me, I have given them so that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one. I have given them glory, Jesus says, that they may be one, completely one. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it hard to follow Jesus’ train of thought with all the talk about “I in them and you in me that they may be one as we are one.” There’s a similar verse written somewhere which says, “I am he, as you are he, as you are me and we are all together. I am the eggman. I am the walrus. Goo goo g’joob!” Oh right, that was the Beatles! But Jesus sounds like he’s on some kind of magical mystery tour when he prays this prayer that we would all be one as he is one with God.