Two Essential Ingredients
The reading from Acts 14 places before us two essential ingredients for mission.
Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch, one of the largest cities in the ancient world on the Mediterranean cost of Syria.
Recall Acts 12:
The Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’
There is a clear pattern.
In Luke 9 Jesus chooses ‘the twelve.’ In Luke 10 Jesus chooses ‘the seventy-two.’ He sends them out ‘two-by-two.’
In Acts 12 the protagonist is the Holy Spirit. Again, they are sent out ‘two-by-two.’
‘Most of life depends on the company we keep.’ Hence, out we go, ‘two-by-two.’
Along the ‘way’ we can chat together about the ups and downs of mission. Sometimes there is success, other times no. We need to talk and listen.
Finally, Christians are to love another and so people witness the love between those who are sent out ‘two-by-two.’ This seems especially important.
Paul and Barnabas return:
On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans.
The second ingredient is critical, too. For it is essential that we be able to stop, look back and see the hand of God in what is happening.
This is part and parcel of the meaning of Sunday – the preeminent day of rest and resurrection.
We stop. It allows us to look back – to remember – and thus participate in God’s providence, for it is God, not us, who ‘opens the door of faith’ to others.