Scripture Readings for Today are all here.
He sent them out two by two.
Someone said, "You can always count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can never count the number of apples from a seed."
If our church sometimes feels like the "pathetic apathetic " this passage gets to the heart of ministry and the sad fact that there will be only a few that are willing to give up time to spread the message.
What we can count on is that we serve the God of the Harvest who said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few".
There are plenty of sights of decline in the church but there are also signs of vitality, signs of generosity, signs of life.
We can see a major erosion of religious belief and practice,a major shift in attitudes about religion and spirituality, and substantial breakdowns in denominational identity.
We all can play a part .
All that we are and all that we do is in response to God’s loving initiation. God does the real work, and we are the instruments of God. Without prayer, however, and especially contemplative methods of prayer in which we avail ourselves to God’s presence and action in our lives, then we inevitably give in to the most insidious idolatry of our times: the subtle inner belief that we do the real work on earth, and God is the instrument for accomplishing our plans.
As Richard Rohr so brilliantly puts it in his book Grace in Action:
“Contemplation, is the ability to meet Reality in its most simple and direct form. When I let go of my judgments, my agenda, my tyrannical emotive live, my attachment to my positive or negative self-image, I am naked, poor, and ready for The Big Truths.
Without some form of contemplative surrendering,we see little hope for breakthrough, for new ground, for moving beyond the hysterical ideologies of Left and Right, the small mind, and the clutching ego.
Action without contemplation is the work of hamsters and gerbils. It gets you through the day, it gives you a temporary sense of movement, but the world is not made new by spinning wheels going nowhere. Yet even educated people seem content to stay in that place.”
This short simple prayer from the poet Gail Brook Burket helps.
“I do not ask to walk smooth paths nor bear an easy load.
I pray for strength and fortitude to climb the rock strewn road…
and transform every stumbling block into a stepping stone.”