Two words come together in a very challenging way this week in the Lectionary readings. The Old Testament tells of David finally becoming king over all of God’s people, and the Gospel tells of Jesus sending out his disciples. The first word we find here is “sent”. As Jesus was sent, so he sends his disciples to preach the message of God’s Reign and demonstrate God’s grace and liberation, and David, the shepherd who is “sent” by God to become king, finally gets to fulfil his calling after many years. The second word is “dependence”. Even though Jesus is rejected by his hometown, he still instructs his disciples to go out and depend on the people to whom they are being sent. They are to take nothing with them, but to trust in the generosity and hospitality of the people. David knew what this was like. If you read the story of his rise to the monarchy, you find him leaning very heavily on all sorts of people for provision, protection and assistance in all sorts of ways. The call of God always includes a call to humility and faith, which are both necessary for us to trust, and receive from, others. We never answer God’s call alone, but always in partnership with those whom God calls to support and sustain us.

It is tempting, in our individualist world, to idolise our self-sufficiency and independence, but this is not the way of God’s Reign. Rather, we are called to live and work in caring partnerships as we follow Jesus and serve one another. When we look at the problems that we face in the world today, it’s hard to doubt that such partnerships are exactly what we need. This week we’ll be exploring how to live as “sent ones” in partnership with others.

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