July 4, 2021: The Goodwill of Strangers

road with yellow lines

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

The Goodwill of Strangers

Packing is part of the job. As one whose work has taken me to so many places across the Eastern District and beyond, it is a common ritual to ensure my suitcase is well packed and my backpack filled with the necessities for the trip. I can’t imagine not being ready for the known and unknown challenges of travel.

So, it’s difficult for me to fathom the directives Jesus gave to his disciples as he sent them out “two by two.” “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.” Imagine such a trip for yourself today . . . being completely vulnerable to the needs of the moment in a place that is not home. It would truly be an exercise of ultimate trust. However, therein lies the inherent beauty. With those instructions Jesus challenges the disciples to anticipate generous hospitality from those they do not yet know—to gain a common reliance on the goodwill of others, to discover kinship within those who were once strangers.

In a week when citizens of both the United States and Canada celebrate our “independence,” may we do so with a sacred appreciation for the ultimate dependence we have upon one another and our global community. As those who travel through life “sent” by Jesus Christ, may we become more accustomed to anticipating the generous hospitality of those around us, both near and far. Can you imagine a world reliant upon the promise of human goodwill for all? It is hard to fathom, but it is nonetheless the travel plan laid before us by our Chief Elder.

Dave Bennett, president, Eastern District,

 Northern Province, Moravian Church