We had our final evening of Lenten worship at Bethel tonight. From where I was standing it seemed like a wonderful time for reflection and prayer. I led the congregation through a few guided prayers while offering songs of worship and devotion. I also shared briefly a few thoughts that had come upon me this afternoon regarding Luke 10:1-3 and the call of preparing the way.
After these things the Lord appointed seventy-two others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go …
My thoughts went something like this: As one who has often had opportunity to guide others into moments of worship, I think I have often come to think of preparing the way as a call to ready our hearts. There is a tendency to want to sing the song Prepare the Way as a worship service begins – that we might open our hearts preparing the way for Jesus to meet us. Our small worship team at Bethel has even taken our name from this song. We are Prepare the Way. Here’s the thing … Jesus is already among us as we gather. While there is a sense of this preparation that may be valid, there is a greater call to prepare the way. In Luke 10, Jesus sends the workers into fields that need cultivation. He sends the 72 into the places He intends to soon go. They are to cultivate the fields. Ready the land. Till the soil. They are called to create a culture that is ready to welcome the kingdom and allow the word of God to find good root when it is scattered about. Such is our task. May we work to cultivate a culture wherein Jesus will be welcomed and within which the Spirit might move in power for the glory of God. From now on, I think I must consider the song Prepare the Way as one of sending, not of gathering.
May you be allowed times of reflection and repentance as we enter Holy Week.