"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." - Mark 6:11
My feet are looking awfully filthy.
I don't mean this metaphorically. I live in one of the dirtiest places in the country. My beloved doesn't understand my penchant for wearing sandals when we all know just how disgusting the ground can be in New York City, what with our puddles of unidentified liquids on nearly every corner, and just all of the dirt that blows through the streets on the summer's breeze.
When I walk into the sanctuary that is my home, part of my ritual of entry is to remove my shoes and clean off the city's residue. We expect the same of our guests.
But no matter how hard I scrub, it seems that at least a part of the city stays stuck on the soles of my feet.
Jesus knew about that lingering dust and how, if not carefully addressed, it would follow the disciples everywhere. He also knew that they could not afford this. The next town would require a freshness, a cleansed soul prepared to receive people anew. The disciples could ill afford to let the woes of the last place to sully their chance to minister in the next one.
No matter where we live, many of us walk around carrying the dirt of another time. But God has blessed the land before us and called it holy. Like Moses, we stand on holy ground.
How do your feet look?
Holy One on holy ground: wipe my feet clean. Prepare me for the steps you call me to take. Because the dust will never shake free without your help. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.