There is a word which had become dirty in most modern mainline churches. That word is "evangelism".
When most of us hear that word, we likely conjure images of manic street preachers, people knocking on our doors, judgement, tent revivals, conversions, and so on.
In reality, we are actually thinking "evangelicalism" when we think of these things. Evangelism is something else entirely, and it is in fact the duty of all Christians, and I would even argue that it is the duty of all faiths and even those who do not adhere to a faith.
The reason being is that the word "evangelism" comes from the Greek for "bearer of good news". Yes, this word was specifically generated within the context of Christianity (the word "Gospel" meaning "good news") and it referred specifically to bringing the good news of God's love to others.
But at least within the context of today's Gospel passage (Luke 10:1-20), there is no mention, implicit or explicit, of trying to convert people to any ideology. Jesus calls his disciples to simply go into the world and do good things: to heal, to cure, to help, to assist, to companion, to bring peace.
What would the world be like if we all just went out and did good things for one another, not to try to change their minds or convert them to our way of thinking, not to criticize their lifestyles or ideas, not to get anything out of them, but just because it is better to do good in the world than to do evil?
This is, I think, the actual call of Christ, and in fact the call of most credible prophets and thinkers from the majority of world ideologies, whether they be religious or secular.
To hear my sermon from this past Sunday, click here.