"He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money…”
Remember the old George Carlin routine about people and their stuff? "Everybody's gotta have a place for their stuff. That's all life is about, Trying to find a place for your stuff."
Perhaps we didn't realize at the time that Carlin's skewering of our modern tendency to hold on to our “stuff,” was a retelling of this lesson Jesus had shared with his disciples. Your "stuff" Jesus said, just gets in the way. Don’t bring it along. Get rid of it. As you embark on your journey of spreading the good word, the instructions are clear: "He ordered 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 to put on two tunics."
Jesus knew that as humans our default is to love nothing more than our stuff and to go to lengths to hold onto it. He also knew that if we are to learn to love something else, we must pare away the extraneous. And guess what? It's almost all extraneous! The disciples didn’t need a spare tunic and they didn’t need money. What is it we don’t need that we are in the habit of lugging around? Let us also remember that Jesus did not want his disciples to shed each other --- get rid of the “stuff,” but retain the relationships. Keep the partner. Don’t go out alone, but go out “two by two.” We need relationships to do our important work in the world.
Only when we realize life is not about "trying to find a place for your stuff," can we find peace. Lent is a time we give this practice a try. We get to work at scrubbing away the extraneous, peeling off the surface layer. What’s left is what matters, and we are better able to open up our hearts to the peace of God's love.
MARCH 6 / TUESDAY