Sunday, 12 July 2009

Travelling Light

Opening Prayer

Here I am Lord,
Speak to me
within my heart and soul.
I am listening.

Mark 6:8

‘take nothing for the journey’

On the road again

Christianity is made up of journeys. There is very little opportunity to ever sit still (which is why we need some meditation and reflection time now and again). If we are not journeying in our hearts and minds, then it is a physical , practical journey that calls us to go out and make a difference.

Jesus has been preparing the apostles hearts and minds, he has been showing them the other Way, the alternative to the life they understand. And they have been living it, gathered from the outskirts, seeing others welcomed from even further away; outcasts and foreigners. Jesus’ Way is open house – all are welcome.

But Jesus has the restrictions of his humanity to deal with – he cannot be everywhere. So he sends the apostles and does spend time preparing them. But how is this preparing them?

Palestine is not a safe place to live. The land itself can be unforgiving; it is an occupied country; there is division between the people themselves – even being from the next village can make you a stranger. To be prepared means travelling in groups, finding animals and guides; sending word ahead; having provisions and alternatives; having a map.

Jesus says:
No, go as you are. Travelling in groups will make you seem a threat, will give you security. Having provisions means you will not ask for help; so how can people offer theirs? Being self-sufficient how will you understand the needs of others; appreciate the hospitality of strangers. Knowing where you are, where you are going, means that you will not notice the lesser path, the person in need, and the place you should be. Having these things will make others resent you and may make you judge them.

In taking nothing, you will take everything I and my Father have given you. In taking nothing you will know that all you need is me. In taking nothing all you can give is me. Your journey, your mission, is to take me, my Father and the Spirit out into the world. Take nothing else.

The road awaits

I do wonder about the modern day view of Christianity. We are very much a ‘part of society’. So much so that there are people who consider them Christians, just because they live in Britain.

The rules we are meant to live by in the secular world are very like the rules we are meant to live by in faith. They are not perfect, even when we manage to keep them, but they are different to the rules that used to exist. There is a sense of democracy, of human rights, of a need for social responsibility that calls out even now in a culture that seems self-centred and capitalistic. Those voices still appear, challenging the status quo, wanting a world that is better.

These voices, our voices, cannot come from a sense of comfort and satisfaction. The have to come from the awareness that we are all worthy of being all we can be. And not only that we are all responsible to helping each other to achieve the best we can be.

This is Jesus’ voice speaking to us, challenging us not to settle for anything less; not to wrap ourselves in security; not to be complacent because we are alright – in our family – in our parish – in our community.

Take time to find a quietness and a place to listen. Where does Jesus want you? Who does he want you to reach? What does he want you to say? And, at the same time, give him your doubts, your uncertainties, your lack of confidence. Let Jesus prepare you as he prepared the apostles.

For when he sends you out with nothing – it is because that is all you need.

Closing Prayer

May the blessing of the Sacred Three
The Father who gave us the Word
The Son who is the Word
The Spirit who opens the Word within us
Be with us today and evermore.

wordinthehand 2009

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