“Did you pack your own suitcase?”

Signpost for Sunday 3rd July 2016: 2 Kgs 5:1-14; Ps 30; Gal 6: (1-6), 7-16; Luke 10:1-11, 16-20.

I have learned over the years to just chill out when my wife packs to go on holiday. She likes to plan for every eventuality. The car is usually fully loaded. If we’re flying, the luggage allowance can’t be right. And how much can you really take on board? There’s no point me stressing about it. My wife simply feels better about taking stuff she might need. And often I’ve been very grateful that she does.

But I still grab the smallest bag I can find if I have to go away by myself. Couple of t-shirts (maybe I’ll wear them both at the same time if it gets cold), one pair of shoes, often one pair of jeans, no jacket if I can help it, minimal underwear and socks, a book to read, the phone of course, house keys, wallet, watch. I’m ready to go.

Now if someone said to you, “Tomorrow you’re going on a very important trip and you may have to visit some rather dodgy places,” what would you pack?

I bet you wouldn’t ‘carry no purse, no bag, no sandals’ (Luke 10:4). Even I would over-pack, by Jesus’ standards. After all, when we set out on any journey, it’s just human nature to think about what we need to take with us. And we all want to have some idea about where we’re going to stay and what the food will be like.

Yet, here’s a story that seems to say, “It not about what you need, it’s a about who you need.”

Now, some of my favourite words in the Bible are these: lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt 28: 20).

But actually, one thing the writer of Luke does here is to remind us that we also need each other on the journey. Whenever Jesus sends people out ‘into the world’ they go in pairs: Mark 6: 7-13 and Luke 10: 4-11.

One of the reasons people go to a church is to spend time with people in their ‘group of seventy’ or twelve. It’s not just about attending church though. I like to think of everyone who reads these weekly Signposts that way too.

Paul

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