Jesus sends out the disciples in this Sunday’s gospel to witness their faith. Centuries earlier Ezekiel was called by God to proclaim God’s word to the people of Israel who were captives in Babylon. The people to whom the disciples of Jesus preached did not like what they said and rejected their message. The people of Israel in Babylon felt that God had deserted them, and they refused to hear anything that a prophet of God might say to them.

It’s often not easy to speak for God. It’s often more difficult when one speaks for God to the people of God. Yet God calls people to proclaim God’s word to the world, and especially to the people of God. While the word of God always proclaims God’s love for all creatures, it also proclaims a command. God wants us to understand that because God loves us, we are expected to love one another. While we are happy to hear of God’s love for us, we often don’t like the call for us to act lovingly toward one another.

Those who speak for God are often rejected by God’s people because God calls us to act toward one another the way God acts toward us. I’m not speaking about preachers being rejected because the congregation does not like what they say. Any person today who calls us to act lovingly toward one another is likely to be rejected by those around them. People don’t like being told to love others. There are others we just don’t want to love, and we easily reject those who tell us to love them. Still, God calls us to love all. The good news in this Sunday’s scripture readings is that while God calls us to proclaim God’s message of love to all, God does not hold us responsible for how others receive that message.

Thanks be to God.

Pastor Bill