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Take nothing with you except…. 

The Battle Belongs to the LORD

How are you at packing for a trip? My default is not to travel light but I’m good at travelling light if I know I have to carry my luggage and negotiate trains and escalators. When we travel by our Landrover, well there is in my mind no reason not to try and fill it! And this is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when we set off for France. It was crammed full of table and chairs, don’t ask, baked beans, marmalade and cereals.

It got me thinking about what Jesus says in Mark 6: 8-9. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.

I find this both challenging and intriguing. In Exodus God uses Moses’ staff to show His power to Pharaoh to convince him to let the Israelites go and to perform amazing things, making water come from the rock and the dividing of the Red Sea.  

The Israelites are told in Genesis 12, as they prepare to leave Egypt “Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover.” Jacob leans on his staff as he blesses Josephs sons. When Gideon asks God for a sign that he really is going to be the able to save Israel out of Midian’s hands, this is what happens in Judges 6: 20-22. The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realised that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

I’m sure that the disciples would know how important a staff could be, as something to aid their walking, something to lean on when tired and know these stories and but I wonder was Jesus also saying you are taking my power with you as you go, you are not really alone. You can lean on me and take heart when things are tough.

We can’t really walk around with a staff but we can know that Jesus is with us as we journey each day. No matter what our day holds we can take comfort that Jesus is always with us.

David declared in Psalm 23
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Catherin Tidmarsh, 16/05/2022