Sixth Sunday after Pentecost July 5, 2015
Shake Off the Dust
Today’s Gospel lesson begins with Jesus going to his hometown, knowing that his words and authority would be accepted marginally at best. He goes to the synagogue and begins to teach. Many are astounded. Is this carpenter kid from down the street for real? Jesus perceives their reaction in advance, but he does not let that stop him.
Then Jesus goes out from his hometown. He calls the twelve disciples and sends them out two by two. They go with only a staff and the clothes on their back, casting out demons, healing the sick, and proclaiming that all should repent. Again, Jesus knows that some will not accept his message. He instructs his disciples to go, and if they perceive indifference or are rejected, they are to shake off the dust from their feet and keep going.
On this Sunday in the Moravian Church, we observe the 600th anniversary of the death of John Hus, who, having been found guilty of heresy by the Catholic Church at the Council of Constance, was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. Hus did not hold back, and for that he died a martyr for those who were growing increasingly opposed to the established church centered in Rome. I can picture Hus, in the face of opposition, rejection, and threats, shaking the dust off his feet before going into Bethlehem Chapel in Prague. There he preached for twelve years, delivering about three thousand sermons to a wide spectrum of Prague’s society so that all could hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Hear the instruction from Jesus for his disciples, John Hus, and countless saints and martyrs, and for each of us. In the face of indifference and opposition, we are to shake the dust from our feet and keep going, as witnesses of God’s love and grace. For many have heard and believe.
John Fritts, chaplain, Marquardt Village, Watertown, Wisconsin