We are delighted to introduce the work of Jan Richardson who will be known to many for her art, books and poetry. We will be using her work as part of our liturgy and begin with this Blessing which was linked with our Gospel reading yesterday:
Image: A Blessing in the Dust © Jan L. Richardson
Reading from the Gospels Luke 10.1-11, 16-20
But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ – Luke 10.10-11
Knowing when to stay, knowing when to leave: this is one of the most challenging invitations for discernment that we will ever encounter.
There are times, after all, for leaning into the resistance that meets us; times when God calls us to engage the difficulty and struggle that will shape and form us in a way that ease and comfort never can. There are muscles—in our body, in our soul—that can be developed only by pressing through the resistance; not with pride, not with the utter conviction that we are in the right, but with the humility that enables us to summon our intention and will and open ourselves to the grace that carries us through situations that we cannot navigate on our own. There is ground that becomes holy only when we remain long enough to see the blessing that can emerge from struggle, that shimmers through only after the dust the struggle kicks up finally begins to settle.
And then there are times for leaving; times when—as Jesus counsels his disciples—the holy thing to do is to shake the dust from our feet and leave behind a place that is not meant for us.
This blessing is for those times.
A Blessing in the Dust
You thought the blessing would come in the staying. In casting your lot with this place, these people. In learning the art of remaining, of abiding.
And now you stand on the threshold again. The home you had hoped for, had ached for, is behind you— not yours, after all.
The clarity comes as small comfort, perhaps, but it comes: illumination enough for the next step.
As you go, may you feel the full weight of your gifts gathered up in your two hands, the complete measure of their grace in your heart that knows there is a place for them, for the treasure that you bear.
I promise you there is a blessing in the leaving, in the dust shed from your shoes as you walk toward home— not the one you left but the one that waits ahead, the one that already reaches out for you in welcome, in gladness for the gifts that none but you could bring.