Then Jesus went to the villages around there, teaching the people. He called the twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two. He gave them authority over the evil spirits and ordered them, “Don’t take anything with you on the trip except a walking stick—no bread, no beggar’s bag, no money in your pockets. Wear sandals, but don’t carry an extra shirt.” He also told them, “Wherever you are welcomed, stay in the same house until you leave that place. If you come to a town where people do not welcome you or will not listen to you, leave it and shake the dust off your feet. That will be a warning to them!”
Jesus calls us to keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to all. Our actions are to be welcoming, with generous hospitality, as we serve with humble hearts, healing hands, with justice and equity. In ancient times, when stepping on another’s land, generous hospitality treated the visitor as a cherished friend or as one of the family. As a visitor, you bring peace, and leave in peace. If you are not welcomed, you shake off the dust, and leave their ‘land’ with them, not carrying anything literally away with you, nor harbouring ill-will in your heart. ‘Shaking off the dust’ reminds us of two aspects of being people of peace – leaving behind ill-will and inhospitable or judging behaviour and neither adopting it; and acting with justice, equity, humility, kindness and unconditional love.
Prayer of Confession
I recognise the misuse of your love and the cautiousness of my welcome.
Forgive me, for I am not living as a person of peace.
Where has it gone?
The unconditional welcoming hospitality for all?
When did I first let it slip
and let the dust cloud my faithful action?
Who has torn the tent?
The dwelling space of safety and warming love for all?
What has hindered my responses,
so that injustice and inequality flourish around me?
Why has your Way of being been misconstrued?
Twisted by humanity to not include all?
How can I change my ways,
to shake off the dust of conditional love and injustice
that clings deeply and stains my being and living?
heal my ways and wash me clean,
so that my thinking, doing, loving and being
is refreshed and renewed to reveal your unconditional, gracious love.
Words of Assurance
God’s Warming Spirit melts our cold habits
and draws us to the fire of living justice and equity.
Brother Jesus teaches us again how to live as a peace-bringer,
who welcomes the whole people of God,
raises a voice of justice for those who are voiceless
and reaches out with healing and generous hands.
Amen, amen, amen.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 30/06/2021
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