Rejection and Grace – Can we ‘Walk on’?
By Carol DeSchepper, Spiritual Director, ELPNA Executive Director
On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. Luke 9:52-56
Painful as it may be, reflect briefly on a time when you experienced rejection. Pause and ponder what that experience was for you. What was your immediate response? Anger? Bitterness? Pain? Devastation? Did you too want to ‘call down fire from Heaven’? While the disciples’ response to no welcome reception for Jesus was hardly a Christ-like response, it offers us a lesson nonetheless. Jesus “rebuked them and they journeyed on to another village”.
So, how do I/we respond to being rejected? I’ve had many experiences of rejection in my life, as I suspect you have. I have also, sadly, been the source of rejection to others. Rejection is not always intentional and there are often many, complex reasons that it occurs. Most of the time our response to being rejected is not to simply walk on. Our humanness gets in the way and we want to take revenge. We want to confront and set the record straight. However, that is not what Jesus models or what Jesus asks us to do. Scripture does not reveal if Jesus had feelings about not being welcomed into the Samaritan village. Whether He did or did not, I would never minimize the experience nor suggest that deep heartache and pain about what happens to one rejected, is not an appropriate response. After all, we are NOT Jesus. But by following Jesus and through His grace, we prayerfully, eventually are able to look forward and walk on.
We witness here a message of forgiveness, courage, and grace. Following Jesus is a commitment we make repeatedly in our lives. For me, at least, it’s not one and done. Daily I must die to sin (including wronging another and/or angrily or heatedly responding to being wronged by others) and reclaim His joy and hope for today. Grace keeps us from being stuck in the past. Like Jesus, we walk on and trust that He is wrapping us in His love and carrying us to places of healing and renewed hope.
Let us pray.
Resources for Spiritual Growth and Development
Center for Action and Contemplation
Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province and the Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This is a wonderful spiritual resource from author and retreat and conference speaker, and spiritual "midwife". Joyce has a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in English, a M.R.E. (Masters in Religious Education), and a M.A. (Master of Arts) in Transpersonal Psychology. She is a member of the Servite Community (Servants of Mary) and was a volunteer for Hospice for fifteen years. She currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa. To sign up for her monthly newsletter go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Grace from Women of the ELCA (WELCA)
Daily Grace is an on-the-go companion for your journey, offering a faith reflection every day. Encounter God’s extravagant, boundless and often surprising grace by signing up for a daily email message. You can also download the newly updated app for your IOS and Android devices.
God Pause Daily Devotion
Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience.
Melissa's Prayer Journal: The Power of Prayer in the Face of Cancer
ELCA Daily Bible Reading
There you will find a link to sign up.
If you are drawn to Lectio Divina as a prayer practice, Lectio365 is a daily devotional virtual resource that helps you pray the Bible every day. Written by leaders from the 24-7 Prayer movement, this resource helps you engage with the word, fix your eyes on Jesus, and connect with God in prayer.
TEXT & AUDIO – Read or listen to every devotional.
The app is free and is available through the Google Play store.
Spiritual Direction – Seeking a Spiritual Companion
Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul. (Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA)
Some of you may wish to seek a spiritual director as a way to nurture your own spirituality. Spiritual maturity and growth is critical for the parish nurse. As you support others in body, mind, and spirit, tending to your own soul is important. Spiritual Direction is only one way of keeping yourself centered and grounded spiritually. You perhaps have other disciplines and practices that meet this need for you.
Contact Carol DeSchepper for a more in-depth discussion of Spiritual Direction, including access to a web site to locate a Spiritual Director.