July 03, 2007

Looking Forward to July 8, 2007 -- 6th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings for this week are:
  • Psalm 66:1-12 (VU p. 784, Parts 1 & 2)
  • Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

The Hymns are:

  • #371 Open My Eyes That I May See
  • #509 I, the Lord of Sea and Sky
  • #660 How Firm a Foundation
  • #649 Walk With Me

The Sermon title is Travelling Light.

Early thoughts: Many years, as we prepared to leave on vacation, my father would look at the pile of stuff waiting to be packed into trailer and trunk and let out a sigh. Sometimes it took 2 or 3 attempts to find the best way to fit everything in. It is a scene that many of us have been a part of. The "why did we pack so much" part of vacations.

The answer of course is that we take what we think we need to be adequately prepared for the trip. Will it be hot and sunny or cool and rainy? Will we be sitting on the beach, hiking in the bush, or going out to fancy restaurants and theatres? Do we have enough food and refreshments? The more variables we want to cover the bigger the pile grows.

In contrast look at the packing instructions Jesus gives to the 70 who are going out in pairs to preach and prepare the way. "Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals...Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide." Go out, take nothing, trust that when you get there someone will provide what you need. Now I am certainly in favour of travelling light (having had the "how will all of this fit in" experience myself) but this seems more than a little extreme.

These travel instructions are of course based on trust. The 70 have to trust that God will, through the people they meet, provide what is needed. And that is what strikes me as the Word for us as I read this passage this year. Yes there are other messages, there is a Word about sharing the Good News, there is a Word about our authority as apostles, but the Word about travelling light and trust is what strikes me this year.

This is the Word we need to hear because we spend much of our lives trying to be prepared for everything, trying to be able to have what we need. But Jesus tells us that this isn't the goal. The goal is to set out in trust. Yes it means we will be dependent on those we meet. Yes it means admitting we might meet something we aren't ready for. But that is life. Sometimes we need to let go and let God even though we know God tends to work through terribly fallible and sometimes unreliable means. We need to travel light, to not carry so much burden around. Then maybe we will find that we are freer, that we have more energy, that we can try new things.

When we pack too much the weight of all those clothes slows us down, makes us less efficient. Many of us find the same thing in our lives, both as individuals and as communities. When we try to, as the Boy Scouts say, "Be Prepared" the details and "what if"s bog us down. If we can find the space to step out in trust, assuming that we will find what we need and be well-received then great things can happen. At least that is what the 70 found out.

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