Fifteenth Sunday Ordinary Time: Mark 6: 7-13

Take nothing for your journey….

If I were a gambling person, and I must admit I am probably the furthest from it I would place a large amount of cash on the fact that when most of us heard this Gospel tonight we most likely would have said…..Take nothing with you on your journey…..yeah right!

I mean have any of us ever just left and went somewhere without first checking if we had all the things we needed?

I accidentally left my watch in Kathy ‘s car this past week.  Almost an entire week, and I drove myself nuts…our schedules have been different and when I did need to get it, I got distracted by something else…it has been insane.

When I leave the house, I check to make certain I have my baggage…if it is work, I have my see through Dora The Explorer bag for Prison…all the paperwork that I need, my coffee, my watch….omg….and my cell phone, wallet, inhaler and glasses.   And this verse haunted me all week…..every time I looked at my empty wrist….take nothing with you on your journey….

You see we have to understand this Gospel in its context.  To the disciples, these commands to not take anything…walking stick only….that would not have been a drastic thing….normal…Mediterranean culture…Hospitality was the measure of a person….if someone came into your camp, you put them up, fed them, gave them water, supplies, tent, anything.


To us as 21st Century Christians…this whole thing makes no sense.

If you remember a year or maybe a year and half ago, I shared with you an article from Forbes Magazine that stated one of the the top ten growing industries was storage……

You may or may not be amazed, that is still true, one of the top ten business ventures is still storage,….41.6% the industry has grown in 2017/8….the medium has changed….it is now storage of information……photos….graphics….data….

As western americans we love our junk…we take it with us everywhere….home or in the cloud.

The question that came up in my prayer was this….I wonder how much junk we bring into our relationship with God and into our prayer.

How much stuff to we have and hold that keeps us distracted from simply being with or in the presence of the Divine?

I was speaking with one of my Spiritual Directors the other day, and he asked me to share with him my most recent moving experience of God…and I went on to share about an article I had recently read that made me think a lot about my understanding of God.  He said….that really sounds like a good article Marty…but I didn’t ask you about an article….I asked you about your most recent moving experience of God….

I thought to myself….maybe I have a walking stick, a couple of tunics, some sandals, some snacks, a bit of cash…and a watch, computer, cell phone and ipod…

If this is a season of Sabbath….maybe I need to set some of my stuff down…maybe you might need to as well?

I wonder if maybe the Gospel has something to say to us:

“He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey….”

I wonder what we are dragging with us?

What do we need to set down to encounter a God who only wants to love us unconditionally?

©Bishop Marty Shanahan 2018