Wednesday, September 20, 2006

where is church in Luke 10?

I have asked classes on Saturday and on Wednesday the following question;
Where is community? Is this church? I have then read them Luke 10:1-12.

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5″When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8″When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 10But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11’Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Think about the question in relation to the text and then feel free to add your comments and insights to our reflections…

Where is community? Is this church? Community was identified in two places;

Firstly, in the dialogue between the Lord of the harvest and Jesus, which ushers in the missio dei of being sent out to where Jesus intends to go (verse 2).

Secondly in “table fellowship” in the practices of dwelling, eating and drinking among cultural networks. The gathered include the strangers (or Others in postmodern discourse).

The gathering allows the practices of gift-giving; as the visitor shares their gifts of “peace” and “healing” and the locals share their food and hospitality

The “table talk” includes the intentionality of an agenda of peace (wholistic shalom); given and (potentially) received, and the Kingdom proclaimed in word and deed.

The “table talk” of the house (v. 5-7), is related and in dialogue to the talk of the town (v. 8-12); for there is a textual echo between house and town.

The “table talk” is caught in the tension between grace and judgement. Will peace be received or returned?

The “table fellowship” is not isolated, because they are linked to “sending” community. Thus we are offered a vision of church as local yet with a global horizon. Equally, they are a table with an eschatological view, for the “table fellowship” is waiting in anticipation for the coming of Jesus.

Conclusion: Luke 10:1-12 is a fascinating text within which to reflect on missional ecclesiology.

Posted by steve at 05:08 PM

1 Comment

  1. Lani ponders…

    I read through this post a couple of times and each time, I paused on the word “intentionality”.

    The question of the week for me has been:-
    “What is church?”
    It’s come up in more lectures than one interestingly enough and it’s a question I’ve been battling with as one who for a number of months now, hasn’t been attending regular church.

    So my pondering question (that doesn’t have to be answered) is, does church lie in the “intentionality”? Is church, church because it’s intentional? I mean, obviously me sitting at a table talking with my family isn’t necessarily church, but with the intentionality of an agenda of peace… is that then church?

    Or perhaps it lies in what specifically is intended.. an agenda of peace.

    I dunno… but I’m thinking about it

    Btw… I quite enjoy ‘dwelling in the word’. It’s real cool being able to reflect on one passage for a number of weeks. At first I was apprehensive thinking, “poo spiritualised reading into texts” but often we miss stuff if we don’t dwell on it thinking about various facets of one portion of a huge painting.

    shalom 🙂

    Comment by Lani — September 21, 2006 @ 5:39 pm

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