Isaiah 66: 10-14; Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20
The gospel this weekend from Luke is rather appropriate as we prepare to send off the group that is heading to Haiti later this week. I can only speak from my own experience, despite the number of trips that I have done like that and have some idea what to expect and needed, I still manage to overpack. I have a tendency to think in my mind that I’m going to “need” all this stuff, rather than trust that things will be taken care of, as Jesus challenges the disciples to in the gospel. It would seem like an impossible mission for them and us if we are to take nothing along with us for the ride.
Yet, as the disciples begin these weeks of mission that we will hear, it’s the first item of business for them…take nothing. That’s right, nothing for the journey; all you need you already have and all the rest will take care of itself. My guess is that for the disciples, and for myself, that would cause some anxiety and fear taking nothing, but Jesus doesn’t want them to believe that somehow there is a bag of tricks out there or the newest gadget is somehow going to be the trick to change hearts and heal the sick. So many at that time believed him to be more of a magician than the miracle man that he is, and so taking nothing would be some evidence to the disciples and to us, that what you need to fulfill the mission you already have and it really isn’t impossible to believe!
The message is the same from Isaiah to people Israel who have now spent years in exile and darkness and find themselves on the return to Jerusalem, the place of life and nourishment for her people. It is the place where they find all that they need and no matter what kind of darkness or exile they may experience in the future, none of it can ever take away that source of life. They have found it within and it will see them through on the mission that God has given them.
As we proceed through these summer weeks we will hear more of what is expected of the disciples and of us in living out this mission and being people of mission. The mission isn’t something that we simply aspire to, but like people Israel, when we find it within ourselves we know it is who we are; yet, there is often much within and without that keeps us from finding the gift within. It’s not always the material stuff, although often is, but is is also the emotional and psychological baggage that we carry with us through life that keeps us from not only fulfilling our mission but knowing that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
As we come to this table today, we pray that we can keep it all here. Keep it at this table so when we go forward, we can fulfill and live the mission God has given us. Identify those material and external items that hold us back from moving forward in life, the things we often think are impossible to live without, the things we think we really need. We can probably all stand a little bit of Jesus’ message today to take nothing with us and recognize we already have it all so that we too can live and know that the Kingdom of God is already at hand.