Shake It Off

Happy Independence Day!

Today, as we celebrate July 4th, I am keenly aware of what lies ahead over these next months. I thought about the Declaration of Independence and the clauses about “long train of abuses and usurpations” and the tyranny exhibited “over these States”, which forced the colonists to “alter their former system of Government”, and “all men are created equal.” Well, some then … and still.

We have been reading The Women by Kristin Hannah. It is a novel about the women who served in Vietnam, who were often ignored and not talked about. My dad served in Korea from 1962 to 1964. On Memorial Day, a number of names were lifted up in memory of those who served in different conflicts in the name of Democracy. It is my hope that these people, my dad and your loved ones, did not serve in vain. We as a country have big decisions ahead of us. I hope we will make them with love and grace.

We know that conflict has been a part of the human condition since, well, forever. Jesus walked the earth teaching the ways of love, peace, and freedom from oppression. Today some people seek power, dominance, and exclusion in the name of Jesus. What they propose, as I mentioned last week, is not very Christlike. And throughout his ministry he faced derision (especially in his hometown) and ultimately death. We – with the help of the Holy Spirit – are called to carry on his mission of love, even in the face of derision and conflict, with courage.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday at 10 am on Balclutha, Zoom, or Livestream as we look at Mark 6:1-13 when Jesus says, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house” (6:4). He then tells the disciples to travel lightly. “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them” (6:10-11). Essentially, shake it off and move on to the next place in their mission.

Who thought sharing God’s message of love and inclusion with the world would be so challenging? But that is what we are called to do. Even when we have to shake off the rebuke of those claiming to speak in the name of Jesus.

Remember that we are interdependent and invite a friend.

Rev. Michael Cronin

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