Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Traveling light

He charged 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 put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. Mark 6:8-10

I am always taken aback by the things people bring with them as necessities. When ever we go to the beach, we take the smallest amount and always only what we can carry. A towel, a book and some lotion. Maybe something to drink. Others we encounter will have huge wheeled vehicles to bring all their stuff onto the beach. Umbrellas and tents, shovels and buckets and coolers the size of a small car. And then there are all the toys, inflatable animals to ride on and paddles to play ball with. As if, right there, in the most beautiful spot in the world, isn't all you need right then. It seems the less we take, the less there is to worry about. We can read and body surf to our heart's content, and watch the beauty of God's world. And we can visit with others, speaking kindly. When you have nothing, there is nothing to compete for. And when there is little, one can concentrate on the gifts and people around us.

Jesus sends his disciples forth, with some simple instructions. Take nothing, and honor the people who are hosting you. Revel in what you have been given, not what you can control. He knows that without the worries and distractions of their things, they will know better how to receive love and welcome where ever they go. And, from experience, when I travel with a great deal (often out of fear) I find myself wishing I had nothing with me and could view the world unencumbered. And I have always found that God goes with me where ever I go - I am never alone. Fear and possessions can make us miss everything delightful and tender.

Today, I want to take nothing with me and accept whatever hospitality is offered. It is easy to say and hard to do. To go with out a safety net. And yet, we have a safety net in God, who is always on the road with us, bringing us safely into each new day. May we rejoice in a loving Creator, who walks the road with us and makes all of our burdens light.

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