Pentecost +6 - Year C
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Some say Jesus sent out 70 folks and some 72. I imagine the 2 extra were the 2 from the previous pericope that were asked to come; made their excuses; heard Jesus' response to their hesitation; rethought/revisioned what was important to them; and came on along.
Following James and John's incendiary remarks from before, Jesus has wisely set up some additional learning experiences for the disciples. A significant part of following Jesus' way to G*D is that of an expansive and expanding welcome (a "peace to all") that leaves room for transformation of G*D, Jesus, Disciples, and Others.
When the focus is on a peaceful welcome, it is amazing how little need there is to yell protests against folks. After laying out two available responses to the paired disciples, it is good to note that their final Blue Book essay was all about the results of mutual welcoming and the powerful relationships and healings that flow from such. Yes, the disciples could have gone looking for opportunities to knock dust off their feet against someone else and they probably even experienced some circumstances where that would have been appropriate, but here they don't find those times to be as exciting, memorable, and reportable as their times of welcome.
We still have opportunities and choices to welcome or curse. Many situations offer opportunity for both responses. A part of our work as individuals and as congregations is to continue finding intentional opportunities to practice trusting a welcome will really be found in our encounters. Recognition of an experience of the Presence of G*D is the value Jesus is looking for. The healings are a bonus.
With whom are you willing to walk together for an hour and then to spend a second hour reflecting on where you had experienced welcome. Y'all might want to try several of these practice sessions (imagine Jesus appointed you to practice until you became proficient at offering a welcoming peace at every moment of your day). One might be in a nature setting, one in a mall, one at a Sunday Service, and one at a community gathering of some sort. These eight hours of practice and reflection will likely lead you joy, just as it did the disciples, as you see more and more of a mystery of welcome, which is a mystery of life, which is a mystery of G*D.