Let’s not be so skittish, sheep. No need to huddle up and wring our hands.
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Our Good Shepherd has told us – in terms even a rather slow sheep could understand – that he is sending us straight into a den of wolves.
Did I just wet myself, or was that you?
And what, exactly, are we given to arm our defenseless selves in the upcoming carnage? Our excellent and well-documented sheep wit?
Wisdom and innocence: this will be your protection.
Wisdom is the ability to discern what is good, right, and lasting. It is using consistent, and good judgment for the benefit of many. And innocence! Innocence trusts completely. Call me crazy, but wild wolves eat innocence for lunch, don’t they? It sure seems like it would be good wisdom to stay right here in the pasture, dontchya’ think?
Why are you sending us out there, to them? I thought you loved us, Father? Why do you want to put harm us in harm’s way? Why do you forsake us?
Who do we trust, saints?
You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
Despite being well-armed with wisdom and innocence, the pack of wolves you’ve been sent out to (by your Father), will still drag you off and put you on trial in a hostile court. This just gets better and better, doesn’t it? You can’t ever say that God sugar-coats anything: he is the ultimate Truth Speaker. And yet, I appreciate how God treats us like we have a brain and a spirit and a will – like we can actually strap in and do our part.
Even so, what’s the point of this questionable plan if we get abused and mauled to death?
So you can bear witness before them.
So you can tell them who you trust.
God knows we can do it because he is with us wherever he sends us: nothing and no-one can thwart the mission, the wisdom, the beauty-making, life-giving power of God.
When they hand you over, do not be anxious about how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.
Tell them what you know.
Tell them who you trust.
God will give you the exact words. He sent you to that exact place so you could tell them something important.
“I trust God.”
For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“God is for me. He will no forsake me – even though it looks like he has.”
So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
Sing it loud saints!
“Forgive them, Father.”
You are in the midst of wolves, fellow sheep. God has sent you out there on purpose and he is not scared for you, he is working everything – even pain and suffering, evil and injustice – for Good.
“This is my beloved son.”
Do not be afraid. God is with you – wherever he sends you. Say in the light who you trust. God will help you – he is near. Declare where your hope is found. God will give you the words – his spirit is in you.
True peace to you today, as you say what you know to be true.
(All scripture from Matthew 10)