Curate’s Contemplations on Matthew 9:35- 10:8

‘Unction to Function!’

Dear Friends

Last week, Judy reminded us of the richness of God’s blessing; that he accepts us as we are through his grace and in that we find great peace.

That peace and knowledge of God’s love is meant to be shared, and in our gospel reading this week we see how Jesus prepares the apostles to fulfil their purpose in sharing that message: ‘freely you have received, freely give.’

Can you imagine the apostle’s feelings? They were being granted such an important role to carry on the ministry of Jesus by healing and teaching; qualities and ministry they had observed in him, but had never undertaken for themselves. However, he did not send them out without equipping them for their task – although there was no competency framework or exams for them to pass!  Jesus equips them in another way; he anoints them with the power of the Holy Spirit. We also see this in Acts 1:8, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses.”  This blessing (unction) is to enable us to function in the assignment that we have been given as Christians. Jesus knows we may struggle in our own strength and our faith may become weak, so God has given us what we need by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be relevant in our generation as we share his message and put our faith in him into action.

Although we know that God has given us his great mercy, we can still find ourselves seeking and searching for something better instead of appreciating and cherishing what we have already been given. We are loved by God and he has granted us freedom from the worries, fears and confusion of this world. We simply need to stand in his grace and activate our faith by accepting the guidance of the Holy Spirit that enables us to be a light, drawing others towards the love, joy and peace of knowing Christ which is also freely theirs. This faith, rather than striving, can be the solution to the needs around us and, if we are conscious each day of what we have been so richly given, our joy will be witnessed and shared with others.

Jesus had compassion on the crowds because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He asks us, as disciples and apostles of today, to help with the harvest where we can by willingly demonstrating that compassion.

Sometimes we need prompting and, perhaps like the slogans we give our children to instil a message, we can recite words to spur us on. So, as we generously, joyfully and unreservedly share God’s message with those around us – be bold enough to remember!

‘Releasing God’s unction gives us courage to function without compunction.’

May God’s blessing enable us all to give his love so freely to others as he has given graciously to us.

Amen