Monday, June 1, 2020

Matthew 9.35-10.23: Of Feet and Tires

The disciples are sent out in Matthew's gospel (9:35 - 10:23). And despite the fact that Jesus' friends are professional fishers of fish, I'm not sure Jesus knows how to bait a hook. The prospects for the mission on which Jesus is sending the disciples sounded pretty good at first: cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. If Jesus had stopped there, it would be a pretty appealing prospect.

But Jesus didn't know when to leave well enough alone. He had to go on and tell them that they would be significantly unwelcome in some places, they weren't taking any money with them when they left his presence, and that they could compare themselves to sheep whose guard dog turns out to be a wolf. Jesus should have quit while he was ahead.

Jesus tells them the whole story, though, and that's who Jesus is. He'll give you all the news, even if it isn't all good news.

So when you get to a town where you aren't welcome, Jesus advises the disciples, just leave. Shake the dust off your sandals and move on to a place that welcomes Jesus and these gifts of healing and wellness.

It's never been on my bucket list to re-enact Bible scenes in my own life, but I'll admit I have given this text a spin. One of my educational experiences was far less satisfactory than the others have been. After the last of my obligations was done on campus, after my apartment was packed up, after all fees were paid and graduation was secured (though I did not walk), I drove away. And, purposefully, after I had passed the city limits, I pulled into a car wash and washed my car. I cleaned it all over: the body, the hood, the roof, doors, sideview mirrors, and trunk. I even used the hand-held wand to get the dust off the tires. It was a good feeling.

I've been back to that town only once in the decades since that day. A friend was getting married, and I went to the wedding. But on my way out of town after the wedding, I was pleased to see that the car wash was still there. And I had plenty of quarters.

Photographs by Lynn Miller in Fort Morgan, AL. 

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