Thursday, July 19, 2012

go on, brush your sandals off

And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” (Mark 6:11)
Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
Daughter Zion, now a captive.
(Isaiah 52:2)

Jesus gives some pretty strict instructions on how the disciples are to live when they are sent out to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven: they are to travel light and accept the hospitality of those who will receive them. I don't know about you but I have a hard time traveling light--you should have seen how much stuff I brought back with me from Hong Kong! 

But not only are they not to carry too much stuff, Jesus also tells them to shake the dust from their feet from towns that will not receive them. In short, in places where they face problems and failure, they are to shake off the dust and move on.

It seems that negative things stick more than positive ones. We dwell on failures and regrets, on things we could have done better or shouldn't have done at all. Problems and failures are inevitable parts of our lives. If we dwell on them too much we are robbed of our joy and happiness in life, we cannot focus on our mission of healing and reconciliation; of proclaiming the Good News. If we do not shake it off, this dust piles up and weighs us down. We are captive, held down by our worries and failures, and we cannot rise up. 

Most of the time this is easier said than done. Things that happened years ago still sometimes worm their way into my mind, and I feel sad and guilty and ashamed. As I fall asleep at night, an interaction from the day will come to mind and I will feel sad that I misspoke or didn't speak up when I should have. I let someone down. I missed an opportunity to share God's loving grace with someone. But what can I do about it at 10:30 (okay, 9:30...) at night? Nothing. All I can do is cast my anxieties on the Lord and resolve to begin the next day anew. ("Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you." -1 Peter 5:7)

May we all find the strength and courage to shake the dust off and move on from our failures so that we may walk the path of peace.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name.
Amen. (BCP p.352)

Grace & Peace,

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