Monday, October 01, 2007

Luke 10 and Irish Pubs

This is Foley's Irish Pub in Reading. Brad Wise and I spent the afternoon here writing a play that will show at The Vineyard this Christmas. We almost met at the church building, which would have been a huge mistake. We were immediately welcomed by the cook and bartender who took a great interest in helping us with the project. Jules, the barkeep, was a tremendous help and it looks like much of the play will be based in her retelling of a "normal" hectic Christmas at her house with her extended family. She was frustrated that after several hours we had yet to find the ending to the story. We promised to come back next week to keep working on it.

Last week I spent some time walking some of our creative staff through Luke 10. I was profoundly influenced by this account of Jesus sending the disciples during my house church days. Very little has changed in my working theology or ecclesiology from those days. What has changed (dramatically since moving here) is my environment. I still believe that God can birth a missional communtiy anywhere at anytime. (I also still believe that we can call this a "church" if we want.) I believe that "persons of peace" still exist and that there is Kingdom power it going out two by two (as Brad and I did today). I'm also just as convinced as ever that the most radical expansion of the Kingdom happens in organic ways outside of our normal church structures. Only God knows what will come of our time today at Foley's, but we were certainly received there and many personal stories were shared. Deep questions were asked. Invitations were given on both sides to continue the relationships.

Luke 10 instructs Brad and myself to stay at Foley's until God is done with us there. So, until further notice, part of my job is hanging out with my friend at an Irish Pub in the middle of a work day. Nice, huh? It also says to expect healings, free food and dramatic life change. I'm all for that too. Maybe in the mean time we can write a play.

Here's the text in question. If, as the Creed teaches, the Church is truly "one, holy, catholic and apostolic," I believe this text is key to understanding the apostolic church in practicum.

Luke 10:1-24 (NIV):

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.
13"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.
16"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."
17The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."
18He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
21At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
22"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
23Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

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