Travel Light, July 6.2012

Mark 6:1-6
Then he went about among the villages teaching.
He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two,
and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff;
no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.
If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave,
shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.
They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
The commonly held reading of these instructions is that Jesus invites the disciples to travel light; to trust their work and their message, to trust the hospitality of strangers, to trust one another (their partners in ministry). I am struck how often I forget this obvious and practical biblical instruction.
When I actually am traveling I often convince myself to take not one, but multiple electronic devices. I often pack twice the clothes I need. I pack toiletries even though they are supplied in every hotel I’ve ever set foot in. I convince myself that I am being responsible and prepared, when in fact, I am merely attempting to stay connected and in control. What does this say of my level of trust? Of those I leave behind and to those I’m travelling to?
And that’s not the worst of it, is it? What about the baggage we carry around that doesn’t get checked at the airport or stowed safely away in the trunk? What about the feelings of fear and inadequacy that sometimes rear up in the face of new relationships or when we must ask for help from strangers?
This baggage is even harder to relinquish. It’s invisible and sneaky. It takes our intention and careful prayer to lay it at the feet of God and allow it to stay there. What are you carrying with you on your journey that you could lay at God’s feet? What burdens keep you from accepting hospitality and trusting one another?
Jesus invites us to travel light, to rely on God and one another. To live into a kingdom that is near but not yet. One modeled by the disciples willingness to go out in pairs; to seek hospitality, to share a radical message of God’s grace and to let go of pain of rejection and disagreement. It sounds simple, but it’s a life’s work isn’t it?
May you lay down your heavy burden,
And travel light with companions in love and faith,
May you experience radical hospitality,
And have the grace to let anger, rejection and dysfunction
Be shaken like sand from your feet.