And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. [NRSV]
As you set off on a trip from your home base to go to camp, vacation, hike the AT, or journey around the world in a solar powered air plane, you cannot take everything with you. But you take what you need for the trip.
The members of our family appear to have different definition of what is “needed” for a trip. Yet, no matter how light I might back, my suitcase ends up being the heaviest. Either there is extra room in my back that someone else has claimed with their over-flow. Or, I am packing more than I think I need but just the right amount of what I’m suppose to need. The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” In reality the motto is “be prepared to McGiver-it.”
The text from Mark’s gospel in today’s reading is about faith. Mark’s question for us is: “Is the heat your packing, faith in Jesus Christ?”
Jesus’s Carry Permit
If you emptied the contents of your pockets, purse and/or wallet onto a table and examined what you carry, what would the contents say about you?
Jesus had disciples traveling from community to community watching Jesus, but they had not made the jump to a ‘sent’ ministry. They watch Jesus’s ministry unfold, but didn’t connect Jesus with their own personal ministry. So the first question is: What is Jesus calling, sending, empowering and equipping me to do?
Carry the Holy Spirit.
Carried by the Holy Spirit
There are times when the church’s ministry is very clear to both the world and members of the church. Many folks are unclear about what our ministry is these days. As we have all experienced in the couple of weeks the church and Jesus’ disciples have been under attack from all sides.
I talked with a man this week that summed up a conversation that I have had with many people in the past year: I don’t mind feeding the poor and helping the homeless get a job, but I don’t want to support a church. When this is the message the world and the church tells us, we have lost our identity, AND we have lost our faith.
When we loose our way and our power to change we get stuck keeping alive what has been alive and we create NO new life. This is not a time to maintain our weight, this is a time shift the focus from weight to the depth of heart. We are not called to keep the church alive, we are alive to keep the world connected with God.
Stay where you are welcomed
Take God’s work, with God’s power and stop where you are welcomed
The Use of Force
Leave When you are not welcomed
The instruction is not to find the lowest common denominator
The instruction is not to compromise so they will like you.
With boldness, anoint in the name of Jesus and if folks don’t want the free gifts of power, love and grace, then leave.
You can’t force faith, you can’t make someone love. You can’t force trust and it be genuine.
The 12 were not called to compromise the faith, but to share it boldly.
A Trail of Evidence
Leave some powder at the driveway, Make certain folks know God has been in their presence.
Leave evidence that might be listened to in the future, not quite the right time..
Jesus sends the 12 empowered by the charge of the holy spirit to reach the communities and where their are welcomed people were set free from the grip of evil, fear and the unknown. And, people were anointed and healed from their sickness.
Leave your baggage behind, allow God’s spirit to fill you, and be sent into the community to free those in the grip of fear and evil and heal the bodies and relationships where you are welcomed. Time is precious, do not linger to force when there are those who will welcome and receive.