Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Take Nothing for the Journey February 1

He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick --no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. Mark 6:8-9


Jesus, we are like Moses. We tremble at the complex simplicity of your calling. Help us to leave behind our possessions like Peter left his fishing boats and Matthew left his tax collection business. Instill in our hearts the sympathy to be kind to strangers, whether they are from across town, across the border, or across the ocean. Help us to live a little better with a little less. Amen.


Take a quick inventory before you leave the house today. Where are you going?

To work? Do you have your briefcase with the work you brought home last night? Do you have your car keys and the key or electronic swipe card that will grant you access to your office? Do you have your lunch or your wallet so you can buy lunch and the money for a coffee break at Starbucks, or Caribou or your favorite coffee shop? It will get cold tonight on the way home so bring your coat, hat and gloves, too.

To school? What text books, papers, and other materials do you need for class? Is you laptop computer packed and the battery charged? If not, you better carry that two pound brick AC adapter, too. Have you synchronized your I-Pod with the latest tunes you downloaded last night? Got the earbuds?

To a store? Where is the shopping list? Did you clip some coupons from the Sunday Post plastic pack so you can save 75 cents on that gum or microwave dinner? Will you be returning those plastic grocery bags or do you carry your own sacks back and forth to protect the environment? Dropping off anything at the dry cleaner’s while you are out? And how about mailing those bills at the Post Office when you drive by, too?

See, no matter where we go, we have a whole routine of little items we pack and carry around every day. We are even subjected to advertising slogans which remind us, mantra-like, “Don’t leave home without it.”

Jesus sent his Twelve disciples out on a mission. He did not want them distracted by excess baggage. He did not want them to worry about their basic needs. He didn’t even want them to worry about taking a change of clothes. Jesus asked them to fully rely upon God to provide people who will welcome them, give them food and shelter, and who will, most importantly, listen to them. Their ministry is marked by poverty and service, compassion and healing.

This episode follows Jesus’ second rejection – first in the Capernaum synagogue and second in the Nazareth synagogue. As we see Jesus learning to be a stranger in his own home town, he sends his disciples out with a dress code and a packing slip that requires them to rely, like an historic model for Tennessee Williams’ Blanche Dubois “upon the kindness of strangers.” Just like the Son of Man, these disciples will have no place of their own to lay their head.

If we can’t image leaving home for part of a day without a veritable suitcase full of baggage, how ready are we to respond to Jesus call and fully rely on God and the kindness of strangers to provide for us no matter where we are called to preach and heal?


Leave it home. Try it.

Before you close the door, leave something home. See if you can get by the day without it?

Try living without it for a week.

Try living without it for a month.

Free yourself to follow Jesus.

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