Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pedal Faster, Gilligan, Part 1

I preached the Sunday before last.  Over the next four days, I'll post my sermon

I want to start today by telling you a story of ministry that doesn’t involve me, but involves my husband, Steve.  He is part of a group of nine bicyclists who worked together to raise awareness of the Homeless Veterans Resource Center in our town – and more than awareness, they raised money.  As of today, they have raised about $24,000 just this year that will be used to help Veterans who are transitioning from being homeless to having a home and will help those who are on the edge of losing their homes.

How did they do that?  They worked for months to hold fundraisers and to communicate about the needs the Resource Center has, but their work culminated in the nine of them, along with two support drivers, riding their bicycles – did you catch that?  their bicycles -- from Huntington, West Virginia, to Washington DC.  That’s over 425 miles, and it’s over the mountains that create the Eastern Continental Divide.  Up the mountains that create the Divide and then back down them again, at what I am sure were speeds beyond what I want to contemplate.  On a bicycle.

If you asked any of them why they do it, or how they stand the heat on 95 degree days, or if it is hard to do, any of them would tell you the same answer – they do it to help those who need help – to help those who have served our country to have a place to call home.

Picture the old television series of Gilligan’s’ Island.  Remember the scenes of Gilligan pedaling on a bicycle to run a generator?  “Pedal faster, Gilligan!”

Pedal Faster, Gilligan.

When I think about Steve’s bike ride, and I look at today’s gospel lesson, I believe we are given a model for what ministry is about.    Hear these words from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, verses 1-11 and 16-20:

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.  He 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. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.  Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.   Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house!'  And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.  Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.   Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you;  cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say,   'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.'

Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."  The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!"   He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.   See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.   Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Continued tomorrow....

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