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. 2He 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. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain 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. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11‘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.’
Do you hear the echo of your grandma’s voice at a family dinner, especially as a child, when you see the piles of vegetables set before and your face sets to a grimace? You hear, “eat what is set before you” and your internal voice is shouting, “why?” This home-spun adages around what you will eat comes from this command from Jesus to his disciples as they are sent out. Jesus reminds those sent in his name that to be welcomed in the house you must also enjoy their meal. Hospitality is extended and those who serve may also be open to hearing the good news if what they have provided as sustenance is accepted without objection. Much like your beloved grandma’s meals prepared and served with love; accepting that love means eating what is set before you without complaint. Focusing on the food takes away from what is really being offered and accepted, the gospel message of peace and hope- Jesus the Christ. Sometimes it’s more than a meal and as you slowly force down the broccoli, maybe you are also basking in the love for your Grandma and the precious memory of meal with her. May Christ’s peace and hope extend to you as well.
Lord of chocolate cake and broccoli, we so enjoy the fellowship with you in the meals with those you love. May we accept such offerings of love and care from others as a sign of your peace. In eating what is set before us, we remember your greatest gift, your greatest hope, your good news for all people. Thank you for such a gift of grace and may such bites, whether it is broccoli or chocolate cake, be a foretaste of your kingdom, Amen.