Exodus 3:1-12 (NIV)
“…And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Matthew 10: 1-15 (NIV)
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Some of you may be too young to remember the Carnac the Magnificent character that Johnny Carson would portray on his Tonight Show. Carnac would be presented with a blank envelope with a question inside. He would take the envelope, hold it to his forehead, and state the answer to the question. Then he would open the envelope and give the question, which was always humorous and always corny and made you laugh.
So, envision the answer “They are God’s Messengers.” Carnac opens the envelope to reveal the question: “What do Moses, the 12 disciples, and you have in common?” Our Old Testament reading today recounts Moses seeing the burning bush and going to it, responding to God’s call. God sends Moses to Pharaoh to bring God’s people out of Egypt. Moses says “Who am I, that I should go… ?” Moses is confused and does not feel worthy of the call to lead the people.
In the New Testament reading, another group is called. Jesus calls the 12 apostles; they are charged with driving out evil spirits and healing every disease and sickness. Seek out worthy people to help you, if anyone will not welcome you shake off the dust and leave them. His counsel was to remember to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
So here we are faced with our call from God/Jesus to go out into our community and share the good news. How do we share with others when we have our own doubts and questions? The answer is to look to those who have gone before. God was with Moses, Jesus said to his disciples “…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time, you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Oh Lord, give me strength and courage to speak of you, of my church and my fellow Christians to the world beyond our doors. Let your Spirit speak through me to those who would be comforted as I am comforted by your presence in my life. Amen.