“Take nothing for the journey.”
The authority Luke speaks of is the authority of relationship. Jesus gave his apostles the authority, to “cure diseases… proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Jesus offered nothing beyond themselves; who they were in relationship to him. He offered them no healing herbs, no potions, no medical skills, no additional anything. He sent them off with “… nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,…no second tunic.” But neither did Jesus say anything about expectations or results. In fact, he says, “…as for those who don’t welcome you, shake the dust from your feet.” He does not say to stick around, try and try again, or be persistent. He says to keep going, to keep moving on, to stay faithful to the mission, the journey, stay faithful to me, to us, to what we have together. It is not about the quality of the hospitality offered, rather it is about faithfulness to Jesus himself. Staying faithful to the relationship.
This is not about the ‘what’ and the ‘where’ of the sending. It is not about success or failure. It is about relationship and the journey itself. It is about being sent – again and again within whatever my vocation is at the time. It is about living out of the relationship. It is about having the freedom to go in spite of uncertainties. It is about freedom from success or failure, people, places, and fears. It is about journey and mission, freedom, response and responsibility . Relationship. It is about inner movement, inner change, as well as physical relocation. It is about the relationship between me and Jesus, me and others. It is about trusting who I am in the heart of God and that what I have been given is enough for the journey. It is always about relationship.
(Adapted from Joan Blandin Howard)