Several years ago there was a TV show on called “Allie McBeal.” Long story short, the show was about a young woman who was a lawyer in Boston and the eccentric co-workers around her. But one of the main arcs of the story line was Allie’s continual inability to have a meaningful relationship, which she so desperately wanted. Every time she seemed to have met the man of her dreams she seemed to sabotage the relationship and it would crash and burn.
Even thought this was just a TV show, eventually the popularity of the show dropped as folks really got tired of watching the same scenario play out again and again.
Well, the reason so many people related to this show was because we, too, have witnessed others (maybe ourselves) being their own worst enemy. A good thing comes along in their lives and they seem to find a way to find the dark cloud in every silver lining.
In today’s Gospel Lesson we see The Lord giving His disciples the authority and power to carry out His command to spread the word about the coming Kingdom of God. He gives them power to cast out demons and to heal the sick. Interesting that The Lord equips His disciples to overcome both physical and spiritual roadblocks to folks in their need for real freedom and communion with God! Look at Mark 6:7-13.
The Lord sends them out “two by two” to do this work and He instructs them to live by faith and to stay where they are welcome. All of this information is full of several sermons, but I want to focus on one particular instruction.
The Lord tells His disciples “And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.” “Shake the dust off your feet.” Interesting.
The truth is the message of authentic spiritual freedom and unconditional love in relationship with God and others may be fine in theory for most folks, but the actual living out of these lofty principles and spiritual discipline does real and permanent violence to selfish living and thinking. And that, my dear ones, will not sit well with some. So, The Lord tells His disciples to live in the reality of the relationship. If some do not receive them, embrace this hard journey of communion, then there will be a time to move on.
But no relationship is without consequence. And the very fracture or rejection of this message of Christ is a “testimony” to the state of our hearts. The selfish miss this spiritual diagnostic moment. The wise never miss such a chance to mature.
Today, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ. You have been given the Holy Spirit at your chrismation. You have been equipped by Christ to extend His message and His kingdom to your world. You have companions traveling this journey with you, and you will face rejection. Work for reconciliation. Desire peace. Be quick to repent and quick to reconcile. But, if others refuse, don’t fall into the trap of getting stuck in a rejection and a brokenness that will swallow your light in perpetual and unproductive lament. If they will not receive you, move on. There will be others who will receive you. You have all you need to be the hands and feet and voice of Christ and to be a faithful disciple. Go, share your gifts in the Church, and when you hit a roadblock of rejection, work to overcome it until you reach that point that you need to move on! Don’t fall into the abyss of those who are their own worst enemy.