Pastor Caitlin Trussell with Augustana Lutheran Church on July 7, 2019
[sermon begins after Bible reading]
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!’ 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 “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.’
16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” 17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The copy room here at the church serves as an ad hoc lunch room for staff. We cover a lot of conversational ground in there. Family, trends, politics, travel, nutrition, theology, pets…you name it, we talk about it. Last week, slang came up. Well, honestly, I brought it up after making a comment earlier in the day to a younger gym rat at the end of a workout who responded with a really odd look. The look was so odd that I wondered if I’d said something unintentionally inappropriate. I went home, looked it up, and was relieved to find that his confusion was because I’d been obtuse, not obscene. You don’t have to hang out with me very long to know that I enjoy good words whether they’re super old and out of use or fresh and new on the scene. The problem is that I have trouble keeping up with slang which creates confusion from time-to-time. So when the words “peace out” popped into my head in response to today’s Bible reading, I searched them online before throwing them in the sermon. Thank God, we’re good. But you need to let me know if I somehow missed a memo. Maybe it’s because of growing up in 1980s California, but saying “peace out” with the requisite double fist bump over the heart and peace sign comes second nature to me. It’s the kind of thing that takes conscious effort not to do although it still regularly slips through the cracks of adulting.
“Peace out” (yes, fist bump and peace sign, too) is what comes to mind this week especially after last week’s Bible reading. The one in which Jesus rebuked James and John for wanting to rain fire down on the Samaritans. In the story today, 70 additional disciples are running around Samaria with the good news of Jesus. They’re supposed to announce peace by saying, “Peace to this house!” If their peace is received, the disciples can stay and receive hospitality from the people there. If not, peace out – wiping off the dust of the town from their feet in protest. Peace in. Peace out.
What does “peace in” look like for us? How can we tell when someone is announcing peace to us? This may be a good move to make as we think about announcing peace ourselves. It doesn’t seem to be about like-mindedness. By like-mindedness, I mean people who just give us the thumbs up on our latest cockamamie scheme or ill-conceived opinion because they’re similarly motivated. Rather, I wonder if “peace in” looks like a truth contrary to our current opinion. In the Bible story, the disciples are vulnerable in a potentially hostile environment. In verse three, Jesus tells them that he is sending them “out like lambs into the midst of wolves” without purse, bag, or extra sandals. Peace is what they carry. Peace in. On a personal level, peace as contrary truth to our current opinion could look like where Jesus meets the dark place in ourselves that we think is unredeemable. The dark place in ourselves that makes it hard to hear other people. The dark place from where our attacks on other people are subconsciously launched from. When I’m with someone who announces this kind of peace, their lack of judgment is a gift as I wrestle with the darkness at hand. The acceptance and love of Jesus is both honest and compassionate about my humanity on display.
Notice in the Bible story that Jesus is not asking the disciples to assess the house or its occupants. There’s no wondering about whether the people in the house have kept the law or worship the same God or will be worth it to the disciples’ overall work in the long run. They are to simply announce peace to the whole house. Peace in. Jesus’ instructions rely on the assumption that the disciples have peace. Jesus says, “…your peace will rest on that person.” He identifies that the disciples’ peace is something they already possess. More than just an ability to stay calm, they have God’s peace, God’s shalom, in themselves which gives them confidence in God’s presence with other people too.
As Christians we practice this kind of peace during worship when we share the peace before communion. We embody reconciliation with each other as we announce peace to each other with a word of peace. When we share the peace in a few minutes, enjoy this moment as the disciples must have also done, confident in the presence of God within you and in each one of us. From sharing the peace this morning, take the peace out into your interactions this week. How will you announce peace? As with Jesus’ disciples, there is nothing lost when we announce peace. Think about the peaceful presence of other people who may not share the same perspective but are willing to engage with people as a sacred act – fully and peacefully present. This peace looks really different than the people who treat others as objects on which they act, as others less worthy than themselves. The disciples share peace and are assured that they lose absolutely nothing if it’s not received. The world would be a different place if we acted out of that confidence. But it takes practice. Like the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Trying again is part of the freedom of our baptism, my friends.
Unlike last week when James and John wanted to blast those who rejected them off the face of the planet, Jesus prepares the new disciples with a plan for when they’re rejected. He gives them an action to take knowing that they will be rejected. The translation today uses the word “protest.” Jesus gives them the action of peaceful protest. Life and limb is preserved while the response to the rejection takes the form of dust. The power of peace in the powder falling from their shoes.
The peace the disciples share is also a prophetic peace. “The Kingdom of God is near” regardless of whether or not their peace is received. This is the same kingdom sung about by Jesus’ mother Mary in her Magnificat found in the first chapter of Luke. Mary celebrates the kingdom that scatters the proud, brings down the powerful, lifts the lowly, and feeds the hungry. Again, not a peace that is about calm so much as it is about the confidence that God is present in the tension when the Kingdom of God comes near.
May we be ever confident in the peace of God that passes all understanding as we peacefully protest, announcing the peace that is promised for everyone, and that is promised for you. Peace out.
 Amy G. Oden. Visiting Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality, St. Paul School of Theology, Oklahoma City, OK. Commentary on Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 for July 7, 2019 on WorkingPreacher.org. https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=4104
 Luke 1:46-55
 Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.