The Ordained

The Ordained
Pentecost 4; Luke 10:1-12, 17-24, Luke 9:1-6; Mark 6:30-52
In Luke’s gospel, chapter 9, 12 were sent out –
12 he had ordained, we might say –
New Creation version of the 12 tribes.
They brought good news and healing,
but they got back exhausted,
grieving the execution of the Baptist.
They could not cope with feeding 5,000,
and Mark says they were nearly swamped
until Jesus came to them on water,
saying, “Take heart: it is I.”

In chapter 10, he sent out 70 (or 72) –
the number of nations after Noah and before Babel,
symbol of a restored and unified world.
This time he sent them in pairs
but with no means of sustenance.
If unwelcome, they were instructed
to shake the dust from their feet.
They returned with joy in achievement,
proud of their power over evil.
Jesus warned them not to savour that,
but to find joy in being called for service.
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit,
pointing out that wisdom comes to infants,
and not to those who think themselves clever.

When I was ordained, we were few.
Did I scrape in because I was clever,
though too old, unconventional and female?
I have spent 15 years leaving behind 
academic achievement in the hope
of being open to Wisdom, and trying
to hear others respectfully.
The house I first entered had no peace;
the wolves wore gatekeepers’ clothing,
yet I was welcomed by many.
I might have had a purse, but still
felt stripped of security, even identity:
I wish we had been sent out in pairs.
I have tried to shake off the dust,
but it clings, it clings, blurring my eyes.
Yet I know at times the Kingdom of God
comes near, and the Son seems clear.
Sometimes I think I hear what others desire to hear.
 	Barbara Messner 28/06/2022

2 thoughts on “The Ordained

  1. You do, indeed, strike me as a “Luke-kind-of-pastor” and I love the weaving of the personal and this particular scripture, admire the honesty, and salute to conclusion. I have to say that the “pairing-partners” in my first two churches were more work that the rest put together. (I like them but I might have traded for a second pair of sandals )


  2. Yeah, i thought when I wished for a pairing that I couldn’t think of an available pairing that would have worked for me. I had a “support group”, at least one of whom didn’t believe in confidentiality, and passed on my reflection on music in the parish (the main hot spot of conflict, of course) to one of the powerbrokers, who invited me to afternoon tea and instructed me on what a curate was not supposed to do and say, e.g. I should not speak up in Parish Council!


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