Readings: Luke 1:68-79; Malachi 4:1-6; Luke 9:1-6

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving the town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere. NRSV

Going out into the world to heal and offer hope doesn’t make us immune from rejection. Jesus made sure to tell the disciples that it wasn’t going to be all warm welcomes and friendly receptions. He also gave them a powerful way to deal with the inevitable rejection: honor it, then shake the rejection off like dust from your shoes.

If we carry that rejection with us, it will be harder to offer healing and good news to the next people we meet. And so we leave it in the dust, not lashing out in retaliation and not beating ourselves up over it.

Who knows? The next time someone comes to that town offering good news and healing, perhaps our honoring of their rejection will inspire them to offer welcome instead.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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