creatively re-reading Luke 10 today

March 25, 2010

The South African Partnership for Missional Churches, working closely with the Church Innovation Insitute from Saint Paul, like to read Luke 10:1-12 with a process called Dwelling in the Word. I can still vividly remember the first time I was in a meeting reading this text three years ago, and my first response was that I find verse 10-12 extremely arrogant. My partner, who was supposed to share with the group what I heard in the text wasn’t quite happy with what I said, and neither was the facilitator.

Since that day I’ve been sharing my discomfort with the text every time we had to read it, and usually found myself to be a lone voice. However, Wednesday morning at the Missionary by its very Nature conference with Roger Schroeder, I found myself in a group of 5 people who shared my discomfort, hearing possible colonial interpretations when they read the text, being uncomfortable with fear motives etc.

I’ve been meditating on Walter Brueggemann’s 19 Thesis the past 10 days or so again. So I guess this got me to consider whether it’s possible to re-read this text as a counterscript. In a way that does not get stuck in old theological controversies or metaphysical speculations. So, this is my re-reading of Luke 10:

Luke 10:1-12 – After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to the town of politics, where dishonesty and misuse of power reigned, the town of economics, where discrepancies between rich and poor reigned, and the town of ecology, where grave dangers existed. This was some of the places he intended to go to bring peace. 2He 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. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4You have only 1 goal: To go to the towns and houses where I have sent you. 5Proclaim to these houses: ‘Peace to this house!’ 6If in this house there is someone who is already sharing in this peace, or open to take part in this peace, you will find a connection, if not, you will remain a lone voice of peace. 7Partner with those who you find a connection with, stay with them, dream with them, and let them provide for you. Do not run away at the first hint of struggle, but stay with this one house that is open to peace. 8Whenever you enter a town and it’s people welcome you, become part of that town; 9care, cure the sickness of this town, and say to them: ‘God’s dream, the possibility of the impossible, has now come near you’ 10But should they refure the peace, should they wich to continue down paths of destruction for themselves and others, proclaim publicly: 11’This is wrong! We will have nothing to do with this! Yet the reality remain that God’s dream, the possibility of the impossible, is near. 12Know this: on the day when the dream which seem impossible come into existence, it will be more tolerable for the evils of ancient times that for those who refused to accept the peace, and chose to continue down destructive paths.”

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