I have always been fascinated with what Jesus was asking of his disciples in these passages. He was asking them to travel around Galilee sharing his very controversial message openly to all who would listen and to bring nothing with them for the journey. They were not to bring water, food, a change of clothing, or money. They went with nothing. They were to rely on God and on the hospitality of those they preached to. That is a lot of trust to place in God and the kindness of humanity.
I often wonder whether we would have such trust in God and one another if we were asked to. I would say in our current world environment where people are suspicious and judgmental of one another that it would be a hard sell for individuals to rely on the kindness of others. Yet there are times when that is exactly what people have had to do.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were looking for something to do on a Saturday that was not baby preparation for a change. We were searching for something that did not require a long car ride, was not too expensive, and that we were both interested in. We found it at the historical museum in Fairfield. They had a new exhibit called The Culper Ring: The Spies of George Washington, Bill and I both have quite the appreciation of history. This exhibit was an educational experience done through the medium of a comic book that spoke about the often unknown spies that helped make the Revolutionary war and eventual success possible.
I couldn’t help but think of everything these men and women risked to help the cause and the trust and faith they placed in the message of freedom they sought to lift up. They were not too different than our disciples who risked everything in their lives to travel to towns that were open to the message of Christ and to towns that were potentially hostile to his message. The disciples were being told to trust and believe in God’s mercy and message, like many of the founders of our country who trusted and believed in their God given right to rule themselves. Our forefathers trusted that what they were doing was right and that though they faced a far superior military with their ragtag excuse for soldiers that they would win out in the end.
They were willing to risk losing everything they owned to do this. In Fairfield County, they did lose everything. Everything they ever cared about was burned to the ground yet they didn’t give up. This weekend as we come back from our celebrations of Independence Day, we are being asked to remember the trust and dedication that has allowed for us to live in the country that we do. We are being called to have that same trust in our God and in the message of Christ to follow where we are called to go next carrying nothing with us for the journey except our faith.
There is nothing else that we need to do the will of God, nothing else that will give us strength of conviction for tomorrow. We only need the ability to rely completely and totally upon God. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Relying on God has to start all over every day, as if nothing has yet been done”. We have to be willing to be like the elders of Israel choosing day in and day out to trust in the protective and loving power of our God even when we don’t get what we might want, even when life becomes difficult and challenges may seem insurmountable.
By taking nothing with them, the disciples were being challenged to begin and end each day with trust in God. Their entire lives were placed into his hands and placed in the potential kindness and hospitality of a people who may or may not be hostile to their work. Our Gospel says, “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”. This charge on the surface may seem to be just to the 12 however by reading it; it is also extended to each one of us. We are being given the same commissioning.
We needn’t worry about the money in our pockets, the food on our tables, or the clothing on our backs. Those just sustain our lives as we would like them to be. They should not be the focus of our every moment. They do not give satisfaction in life. They do not give relationships or comfort at the end of life. But rather the compassion we live out every day in the name of God, which is what builds us up. Trusting in the will of God and seeking him each and every day, which will give us strength of spirit when we need it. So go forth with the courage of those who have gone before you, and trust in the will of God. Seek out his message, seek out his leading in your lives, and place your trust in him. Seek only to spread his compassion and love for humanity to those who find themselves in need. You can do so just by finding one way each and every day to do deliberate acts to spread the love of God. Remember that our God will give us what we need to do his work.
 C.S. Lewis, 20th Century Theologian.
 Mark 6: 8-9, RSV.
(based on 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 and Mark 6: 1-13)