“Commit to Speak Up: Shake It Off” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I hope this week has treated you well and that you are taking care of yourself. With all that is happening in the world, and it is a lot, I am prayerful that you are finding ways to rest and take care all the while still listening and moving forward with God’s call for justice. If you find yourself needing some community this Sunday our YASS group will meet at The Pony Bar after service, and every Sunday Rev. Richard hosts a bible study starting at 10am. We are so grateful that you are a part of our church and God’s beloved community.
As many of you know, to follow Jesus and to be “religious” is to be political. Following Jesus as we learn from scripture, is a call to heal the sick, clothe the naked, house the homeless, feed the hungry, believe and support women, see the immigrant as a child of god, the list goes on. And all of those calls for justice have very real parallels and consequences in today’s society. In my head all the “consequences” of seeking justice are good. But in reality, in this day and age of our digital voice-a voice that is powerful and must be used- some of the consequences are hurtful and less than ideal. But this week, thanks to the spirit, we are offered guidance through scripture on how to handle the negative feedback we may receive when doing the work of God. Let’s read together from the Gospel of Luke chapter 10.
3 “Be on your way, and remember: I am sending you as
lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Don’t carry a walking stick
or knapsack; wear no sandals and greet no one along the
way. 5 And whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be
upon this house!’ 6 If the people live peaceably there, your
peace will rest on them; if not, it will come back to you.
7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give
you, for the laborer is worth a wage. Don’t keep moving
from house to house.
8 “And whatever city you enter, after they welcome you,
eat what they set before you and 9 heal those who are sick
in that town. Say to them, ‘The reign of God has drawn
near to you.’ 10 If the people of any town you enter don’t
welcome you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘We shake the
dust of this town from our feet as testimony against you.
But know that the reign of God has drawn near.’ 12 I tell
you, on that day the fate of Sodom will be less severe than
that of such a town.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! And woe to you, Bethsaida! If
the miracles worked in your midst had occurred in Tyre and
Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and
ashes!” 14 It will go easier on the day of judgment for Tyre
and Sidon than for you. 15 And as for you, Capemaum, will
you exalt yourself to the skies? No, you’ll be hurled down
16 “Anyone who listens to you, listens to me. Anyone who
rejects you, rejects me; and those who reject me, reject the
One who sent me.” (Luke 10:3-16)
Friends, I think I may use “I shake the dust of this off me,” going forward. Negative tweet; shake the dust off. Hurtful email; shake the dust off. Hateful interaction; shake the dust off. I like the imagery of dust because it is of no weight or value. It is loose and it doesn’t stick. Now, obviously sometimes being on the receiving end of something hurtful, can stick and has weight. But that is usually because we have invested in the person causing the pain. There is relationship and history there. That is not what this scripture is talking about. This scripture is asking us to imagine that the hurtful rhetoric that comes from people we don’t know and who don’t know us, can be shaken off like the dust of a new town that you don’t have to stay in. So, shake off Twitter and the catcalls down the street. Shake off your cousin’s ex- roommate from college and even the older versions of yourself. You have grown, you are doing the work God calls you to do, and the people who need to welcome you, will do so with the help and grace of God.
A quick prayer for your week: Lord help me shake off the dust of those who do not know me, and definitely do not know you.