A church library, in a poor neighborhood in Prague
3He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic.”
What a command. I suppose it would have made sense if Jesus were talking to a bunch of Franciscan-monk-wanna-be’s at rally of misfits, in the 60’s, in a rainy field, with live music and a longing for something new. Something not Nixon. Something not Vietnam. Something not Enron Corporation. But it wasn’t the 1960’s at Woodstock. It was a different wilderness, and then a well, and then the edge of the sea of Galilee and then a dark uper room and then a garbage dump outside the city.
This was a group of people Jesus had called to give their lives for a new vision. They did not see it that way. It was a possible career move – a real coup, if this “kingdom” Jesus kept harping on and on about were to come true. They would be executives. Finally! Some respect! An expense account! Except for Mary of Magdala who, by many accounts, was wealthy and had nothing to gain. A person is very powerful when they either have noting to gain or nothing to lose. The rest of us over-caffenated – go for the ring. Too often I feel like Smeagol. My precious ring. My precious…whatever.
Jesus was talking to his leaders – such as they were – a motley crew to say the least. Most from poverty with high hopes of advancement. And a guy who can make miracles was a good bet. “What can we get out of this!?”
Jesus was speaking to the team he was assembling to change the world. He was talking to the people he wanted to care for the flock that John The Baptist had begun to assemble. It went about as well for John as it did for Jesus. And as it will for us if everything goes right. But frightened people will do the most astounding things to get that to which they feel entitled. History is full of them.
Jesus was talking to the people whom he wanted to lead the movement to which he was preparing to give his life as an ultimate sacrifice. Sounds crazy to me. Sounded crazy to them too.
The disciples wanted corner offices. I get that. I like comfort because I was born to it and I want to keep it. I live in a culture that evaluates me by my clothes, my car and my house. And if I were born to poverty, I guess I would want it even more. Crave it even.
The disciples wanted executive positions in what they hoped would be “the Kingdom” Jesus kept talking about.
The Kingdom. It’s an honest mistake. Jewels. Castles. Pages in livery. Servants. Wine. Drawbridges. Edicts. Treasuries. Damsels and knights. Surfs who slave in fields. Horse-drawn carriages. Dungeons. Country houses. Bishop’s palaces. Motes, Silver trays brimming with grapes. Bread. Lost of bread. Wenches. Stable hands.
A kingdom must have been a delicious-sounding thing to a bunch of men who had been fishermen and dressed in brown. Its not hard to find compassion for the curdling of a calling.
Thank God yoghurt and cottage cheese are useful.