The Season of Unpreparation

Scripture Passage: Mark 6: 7-12
7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.10He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.

What do you mean we’re not supposed to take anything with us?  This journey is hard.  There might be danger along the way.  We have to be prepared.  Admit it.  That’s what we all think.  After all, this journey to the cross is hard.  We’re not even halfway there–just sixteen days or so–and we’ve already encountered more than we really thought we could handle.  And now we’re told to go out there virtually unprepared for what will come next.

Maybe that’s our problem.  Maybe we mistake this Lenten journey as a time of preparing us for the Cross when, actually, we’re being called to unprepare ourselves, to put it all aside and encounter the raw roughness of the road itself.  This season is not a season of preparation but, rather, a season to shake the dust off, to clear our minds of any baggage that we have brought to this place, and to leave empty-handed, open, ready to receive.

It’s not something that we do well, this letting go, this allowing ourself to appear vulnerable, out of control, and unprepared.  I mean, we know that we have to walk this walk.  We know what’s coming.  We know what we have to go through.  And so we don some sort of cross-cut suit of armor to protect us, to make it just a little bit easier.  But think what Jesus did at the beginning of this journey.  He went into the desert, unprepared, taking nothing.  He did encounter danger–the danger of his own needs, his own desires, his own vision of what his life could hold.  What he encountered was himself.  And then he shook off the dust and left, returning to the road itself.  St. Catherine of Sienna once said that “all the way to God is God.”

This road to the Cross IS the road to which we are called.  It is the Way of God.  The challenge for us in this season is not to prepare ourselves for what is to come, but to clear the way. 

Grace and Peace,


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