This Sunday at BLC

July 15, 2018 – Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

This summer, we’ve been reflecting on journeys – the ones we choose for ourselves and the ones we find ourselves on as life unfolds.  Pastor Amy and I have encouraged you to consider the journeys you take this summer and reflect on where you encounter God’s presence and where you are received by God’s love along the way.  Last week’s gospel reminds us that it’s also worth considering what we pack for the journey.

Anyone who has traveled knows that a trip can be made more delightful – or infinitely more stressful! – by what is packed (or forgotten at home).  But Jesus gives the disciples a short packing list: bring nothing.  No food, no money, not even a change of clothes. (Mark 6:1-13)

While this sounds extreme, Jesus’ instructions also challenge us to pay attention to our baggage.  What weighs us down?  What keeps us from grabbing hold of God’s love?

The heaviest baggage isn’t physical.  Our hearts can be consumed with jealousy or spite. Our hands can be clenching whatever we think we need.  Our minds can be overflowing with our own ideas, perspectives, rationales, and to-do lists.  Jesus’ concrete instructions to bring nothing means setting enough of our own stuff down so that our hearts, hands and minds are open to encountering God’s presence and being received by God’s love.

Sometimes, we even need to set down that which is essential – like the food, money and change of clothes Jesus tells the disciples to leave behind – so that we are drawn into relationship and open to receiving from others.

For the remainder of the summer, I will be on Family Leave, which means I’ll be taking time away from my responsibilities at BLC to be more present with my family as we navigate this new journey of being a family of five.  I wonder what I will discover as my mind has fewer details to juggle and my days take on a different rhythm and focus.

Wherever our journeys take us this summer, I pray that we all might find ways to travel lightly.  May our hearts and hands and minds become empty enough to notice and receive God’s presence and love, especially when it shows up in surprising places and through unlikely people.

~ Pastor Hoffman