Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Nothing for Your Journey
"Take nothing for your journey except a staff -no bread, no bag, no money in your belts." Mark 6:9
When I was a child my father used to kid about this passage, as there is one translation where the word staff is translated as walking stick. Since my mother's maiden name is Walkingstick, he would joke that he always took my mother everywhere he went - and he was just following the scripture. That sweet kidding points to a deeper truth, though. Jesus sent them with only a staff to lean on -but he sent them out two by two. They had one another, to hear the pains and joys as they walked, to be welcomed or turned away where they went. My father relied on my mother for his ministry and saw it as a joint effort. He gave us all a part, and even though there were days when we resented being constantly engaged in church work, we knew we were needed, we knew welcome and belonging, we knew we were never alone.
You and I, often try to go it alone in our lives and in ministry. The American ideal is still that of the self-reliant individual, a person who can make it on their own. Ideal aside, we are in fact, completely interdependent, we need others more than we can say. You know who your friends are as they reach out, as they seek another across distances and time for definition and companionship in their lives. There truly isn't a "my ministry" because every ministry is completely dependent on the welcome and feeding of others.
Today, I want to begin this new journey of ministry by insisting on not going it alone. Ever since I was a child I learned that when I start out on a new journey in faith, I should try to take another with me, and not focus on the material goods I might lack. It's hard because I feel I lack so much. And yet, God promises to go with me, and send friends to go the journey with me. May we all rejoice in where we are being called, no matter how new and perplexing, knowing that what we need the most is fellow travelers, fellow companions, friends to walk with us a while. God promises that we are never alone. May we rejoice in the companions we have, and invite others (who may feel very alone right now) to walk with us as we follow Christ this day.