Over the last several years, I (and many others) have spent a great deal of time pondering Luke 10:1-12. We have noted how Luke’s context is similar to our own. We have wrestled with how counterintuitive, how countercultural the instructions to the seventy-two “sent ones”—and us—are.
The following prayerful ponderation has come out of such dwelling on this text—actually, on the first two words alone: After this. Over the last month, I’ve ruminated on these words in my journal, my day-to-day encounters, my shared experiences, and when sharing stories. They seem to be applicable to lots of situations and keep showing up over and over again.
I have tried to imitate the tradition of early Rabbis who created Midrashim to reflect on, apply, and live out the significance of Biblical texts. I have arranged some of my ruminations poetically in hopes that as you read and ponder them you will be moved to add and share your “After this” responses, prayers, and thoughts.
by Karen Wilk
Failure to love
I avoided my neighbor today.
I saw her out of the corner of my eye and turned the other way.
We knocked on the door only to learn that her husband had passed about six months ago.
We didn’t know.
No one on our street knew.
I was trimming a tree out front and felt a tap on my shoulder.
I looked around and there was a little old lady standing there.
She said, “I’m moving tomorrow, and after thirty-seven years in this neighborhood, I just thought someone should know.”
The violence in the Middle East—
ISIS, refugees, disasters, and criminality
Bombs, boasts, bribes, and brutality
Our racism, prejudice, and hypocrisy
The havoc wreaked on Your beautiful creation
The poverty—physical, emotional, relational, spiritual
We ignore or avoid
Our greed, materialism, selfishness, pride
You appoint and send us.
You appoint and send us?!
After we argue over who’s the greatest
After we claim Your Name for ourselves
To the exclusion of others
After we want to torch the whole village
The WHOLE VILLAGE!
After we make so many excuses
We’re still making excuses.
Forgive us, Lord.
For we know not what we do.
Or do we? Sometimes we do…
And we still do–or don’t when we should.
Though our sins be as scarlet, make us white as snow.
Help us to forgive ourselves
and one another
and sometimes our neighbors
Though truth be told
It’s likely we need their forgiveness more than they need ours.
Remove the logs from our eyes that we might humbly come alongside those with specks in theirs.
May we know
Why You came
Why You lived among
How You showed us the Way
How much we needed You
God WITH us
May we know
You died for us
What burdens You bear
What grace You give
What love You share
May we know
You rose from the grave
And continue to choose to hang out with us
To use us
To love us
To make us part of Your Story
And you fill us with Your Love
Renew us again and again
Restore us – Send us
That we might remain
I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, for his judgments are true and just.
Amen and amen.
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