Sermons 2006
"Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Proper 10B 2006 Mark 6:7-13

On the Fourth of July 2001 the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to a gathering of the Church Army in
Sheffield Cathedral. He told this story about a cabin boy who loved taking an early morning cup of tea to the captain of the great ocean-going vessel which one commanded and on which the other was a servant.

The ritual was always the same. The little boy would
struggle up the steep steps to the navigation deck and would offer the cup of tea. The captain would thank him, take a sip and put his cup down. Then he would take up his binoculars and scan the ocean. When the captain put down his binoculars, he would take a scrap of paper from his pocket, look at it carefully and then put it back in his pocket.

The cabin boy was intrigued. What was on that piece of paper that was so important? One day he found out. The normal ritual was followed as usual -- the cup was
presented, he was thanked, the ocean was scanned, and then came the moment. As the scrap of paper was taken from the captain’s pocket and as captain looked at it carefully, the cabin boy was able to see the message: Port left, Starboard right, green right out, red right returning! (1)

Very brief, very basic message about navigating on the water passages of the world. Jesus’ instructions to his disciples were very brief and basic. Take nothing for your journey but a staff; no food, no backpack, no bag, no money; wear only sandals, don’t overdress.

Those of us who have traveled extensively have had opportunities to practice something basic like this with our baggage. Although I must admit that until recently I have tended to take too much clothing, too many books, laptop computer, etc, etc, wherever I go. But experience has taught me that one can survive without all those things. One autumn Saint Luke’s Parish went on its annual retreat at Shrinemont. One man in the group must have been in a hurry or in the early stages of aging because the only shirt he brought with him was on his back. I, of course, had brought too many and was glad to lend him one.

I did smile inwardly about his predicament and teased him before next year’s retreat about bringing at least one spare shirt. He brought plenty of shirts. But I was dismayed to find that the only undershorts I had brought were the ones I was wearing. Fortunately the weather was very cool and I survived but embarrassed.

We’re taking the first two weeks in August to visit grandchildren in Atlanta and then to Orlando to celebrate a wedding. I hope I remember to bring enough essentials – and a white stole and alb!

Why, do you suppose, Jesus specified such light travel – and to go in pairs rather than in larger groups? Oddly enough, the “tunic” was the innermost garment. Some of us can remember that in very poor, usually black, families just fifty years ago, large flower sacks were very valuable. They were made of cloth back then. And when washed carefully, head and arm holes could be cut in them to make indoor and summer shifts for infants, small children, and dresses for young girls. The tunic of the bible was much like this, but larger.

The outer garment was a cloak by day and a sleeping blanket by night. There was a piece of cloth that served as both belt and girdle, the ends of which were sewn into bags to carry food and or money or whatever.

The bag that Jesus ordered left behind could be an ordinary carrying bag. But the Greek word used is phyan (peran), which means purse (the King James is closer here). It could mean the girdle but it also could mean the collecting bag that the temple priests used to gather money and gifts from the villages and towns of ancient Palestine, much in the same manner as the priests of various pagan cults of the time. (2)

One commentator observed that the disciples are sent out two by two to assure the validity of their mission and to ensure a degree of accountability for obeying Jesus’ instructions. Jesus charged them to travel light because of the urgency of their mission. After all, Jesus is now starting his mission toward Jerusalem and his crucifixion. The disciples must be prepared to nurture the infant church, and to spread the Good News. (3)

We have been watching the bluebirds in the bluebird box next to our deck. First the mating pair built their nest, and then they sat on their eggs. One day, when we were away, probably sailing, the fledglings flew away. They were starting to be on their own.

This was the fledgling flight for the disciples. This was their training mission for what they would find when Jesus was no longer with them. Traveling light and accepting whatever hospitality was offered them was a sign of their reliance on God alone to accomplish their mission. Their only resource in the future would be the authority that they had received from Jesus during his life on earth.

Jesus also knew that they would not always be accepted with open arms by any means. So he told them how to respond when people refused to offer the hospitality that tradition demanded in the Middle East. It was also a directive not to waste time on the people who not only refused to offer hospitality but also refused to listen to anything they had to say about the Good News. Shaking the dust off their feet was a ridding oneself of any lingering taint of ritual defilement. It was a formal disavowal of fellowship which at the same time warned the unreceptive and inhospitable village and villagers of the danger that they incurred in rejecting these messengers and their message. (3)

We find remnants of this custom in those churches which use shunning as a means of discipline. It carries over into certain military schools which use silencing -- the same as shunning – in certain cases of violations of the honor codes.

To paraphrase Archbishop Carey: So here in this house of prayer, in this gospel lesson, we are given our marching< orders for an urgent mission which is very difficult yet infinitely rewarding. A mission which will demand everything from us but will also give you much joy. If we are faithful to this commission to spread the Good News, love God and our neighbors, we will be like that ocean-faring captain who daily checks that he knows the basics; constantly going back to to what is basic and foundational. (1)


1. as adapted from “Tradition”, Synthesis for 16 July 2006.
2. Willam Bartlett, The Gospel of Mark, rev. ed., pp. 141-143.
3. Lamar Williamson, Jr., Mark, pp. 119-120.

Wicomico Parish Church
PO Box 70
Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579