The Gospel on Sunday tells of Jesus sending 70 people out on the road to teach the good news. This passage, found in Luke 10, comes after another passage that we did not read where Jesus sends out the 12. “70” and “12” are numbers with specific meanings attached: there were thought to be 70 Gentile (that is, non-Jewish) nations in the world, and of the Jewish people, 12 tribes. Jesus commissioning and sending proclaimers of the Gospel to all Gentiles and all the tribes of Israel is Jesus sending the Good News to the entire world.
My daughter served as a foreign missionary for a few months before COVID disrupted things. The Episcopal Church has a wonderful program for youth 18-20 called Young Adult Service Corps—YASC—and she was sent to South Africa to be a youth coordinator. Part of her work was to raise money for the trip, and part of raising money was saying who she was—a missionary. It took her a while to get used to that label. But really we are all missionaries, whether we are engaging those who are close at hand in our home town, or heading out to places far, far, from Indiana. And the corporate name for the Episcopal Church reflects this: The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. If you go onto the episcopalchurch.org website, you’ll find this definition:
The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society:
The missionary organization and corporate body of the Episcopal Church. The constitution of the missionary society was first adopted by the special General Convention of 1821 and incorporated by the New York State legislature. In 1835 the General Convention adopted a new constitution which made membership in the society no longer voluntary but inclusive of all the baptized in the Episcopal Church. The constitution further declared the world to be the missionary field of the church and entrusted general missionary work to a reorganized board of missions. In 1877 the constitution of the society was enacted as a canon of the General Convention. This canon was amended in 1919 to provide for the Presiding Bishop and Council (now Executive Council) to be the directors of the society and to administer its work.
Since 1835, any member of the Episcopal Church is a missionary. Keep that in mind as you go about your week, doing whatever it is you do. Where you are is your mission field. Jesus kept it simple, so I guess we can too: you don’t have to pack or plan big, just be hospitable and accept hospitality, preach the Gospel, using words if necessary.