Lectionary blog on Mark 6:1-13
Text for Sunday, July 8, 2012
Jesus ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff (Mark 6:8a).
I’m what you might call a defensive packer.
I pack for “what ifs” — hoping to be prepared for any eventuality in terms of weather or occasion. One or even two pairs of shoes might not be the right ones so at the last minute I can be found sliding in just one more pair.
For that matter, if my journey is by car, I’m not yet always ready to rely on my GPS unit alone. As often as not I’m printing out a map to my destination as well.
I’m what you might call a defensive packer. Perhaps you are, too. So you can imagine how I react whenever I hear Jesus’ words for us today about traveling light — especially given the potential danger he was asking his disciples to walk into.
It’s true, of course, that you and I live in a much different time than did Jesus and his disciples. It’s true that perhaps “hospitality to the stranger” played a larger role in that place and time. It’s also true that the disciples didn’t own nearly as much as I do that I like to carry with me wherever I go.
Even so, Jesus’ words today always stir me up and for that reason I know they still speak. Indeed, I wonder now what all of my “luggage” gets in the way of me experiencing.
As I turn my attention to guard my belongings, how am I less able to reach out with a gesture of kindness to another? As I rely on my own careful planning for every eventuality, how am I kept from being open to what God may have waiting for me? If I already have everything I need, how am I less open to the gifts of others I meet along the way?
Perhaps it is so that Jesus would have us travel light, particularly as we are sent with the good news — for in the end all we really need is an open heart, willing hands, listening ears and our own stories to tell as we invite others to join us on this journey.
It may be that it is only as we travel light that all of us are more fully able to receive all the gifts God intends for us.
- Why do you think Jesus has the disciples travel light?
- What was absolutely essential for the disciples’ journey?
- What should we leave behind as we are sent on this journey of sharing the good news?
- On the other hand, what is essential for us as we are sent with the good news of Jesus? For us as individuals? For our congregations?