This afternoon, I read Luke 10:1-24 with a group of student leaders at HFCC. After we finished the reading, I sent them out to wander the campus observing whatever they could and asking “How does the story of Luke 10 overlap with this place/community today?”
Each student came back with a remarkably similar answer: announcing that “the Kingdom of God has come near” means starting by welcoming lonely students into new relationships. It means taking our headphones out. It means sitting at tables with people we don’t know. It means breaking the cultural/racial boundaries that keep our school so segregated.
Essentially, it means restoring relationships, welcoming people not only to ourselves, but also to each other. Only then does the message of God’s Kingdom make any sense at our school.
With these students’ observations still on my mind, I discovered this little sliver of brilliance in Mark Love’s most recent blog post:
“In Luke 10, Jesus sends out the 70 in pairs to every place he himself intends to go. He tells them to eat what is set before them, cure the sick who are there, and then say, the Kingdom of God has come near to you. I think this order is important. Eating and healing are ways of being with people that require openness, mutual vulnerability, and care. More than that, the result of such activity is that new human bonds of care and belonging are created. These are acts of hospitality, of giving and receiving. It makes sense in the light of these activities to proclaim the nearness of the Kingdom of God. Apart from these realities, what could you possibly be pointing to when you proclaim the nearness of the Kingdom of God?”
Henry Ford students and Dr. Love seem to agree: evangelism outside the context of hospitality simply misses the point.
There’s much more I’d like to say about this, but right now Mark’s saying it so much better than I could. If you’re not already following his ongoing series about salvation, evangelism, and the Kingdom of God, now’s the time to jump in.