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2 Pentecost - Matthew 9:35-10:8

Please forgive me for beginning with a shameless plug.

Next Sunday at 10:30am, also on Zoom, I will begin a seven week study of the book of Revelation entitled "Hope when hell breaks loose."

Seemed timely.

Since some will not get to participate, and since others like me need to hear something multiple times to get it, let me preview now what Revelation does.

Revelation widens the frame.

It pans back the camera to give a much bigger picture.

It does this because it is written to people who live in day to day fear for their lives.

Christian households then had to have conversations then like black families do now

about trying to stay safe and alive in public without compromising who they are.

It is a delicate, dangerous, and sometimes deadly dance.

The violence in Revelation does not come from heaven; it arises on earth.

Evil starts it; God finishes it.

The insight that John, the exiled and incarcerated pastor, wants to get through to his

people is that small screen appearances to the contrary, God has already won.

The ugly present is lagging behind and pointlessly resisting the inevitable and beautiful future.

So John moves back the camera, as if moving from the face of a junebug in your

backyard that appears larger than earth, that tiny speck in the sky.

John writes this way to show that the shadows of today are microscopic and lost in the

overwhelming light of God's unstoppable tomorrow.


John is telling his endangered people that death is no danger, because God has already won.

Today's problems have already been resolved, we just don't know it or live it yet.

This Friday is Juneteenth.

On June 19th, 1865, United States General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas

with the news that all slaves had been set free.

The president who had announced their freedom was already dead.

The news of emancipation was almost two and a half years old.

Slaves toiled and died for nearly thirty months before word reached them that they were free.

Of course there was significant resistance to this news in certain quarters, so it took

awhile for the announcement from above to become true on the ground.

That is the kind of situation John sees: he rushes to tell those suffering on earth what has already

been decided in heaven.

It is also the kind of situation Jesus sees: when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Ignorance, disease, and despair surrounded him.

What he has long known to be true has never been shared with them.

Someone needs to tell these people the good news that the war is over and God has won and they

are free.

So now disciples become apostles, or sent ones: ambassadors, heralds, official representatives

dispatched to announce in the unjust, stifling kingdom of Herod that The kingdom of

heaven has come near.


Jesus promotes his students to generals and sends them into Texas to say there's a new sheriff in town and things are going to be different.

Now people matter more than power and profits.

Life triumphs over death and law and order.

The God of Moses is in charge now, so the system is defeated and all the slaves are free.