A Lenten Journal: A Pursuit of the Doctrine of Christ (Third Friday)

And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey …    Mark 6:8

The more stuff we carry, the more difficult it is to reach the summit.  Last year, I hiked Cold Mountain by the Appalachian and Old Hotel Trails with a very heavy backpack.  A camper I met along the way tried it on and asked me if I were in the military.  Only one with much mental discipline and physical strength could bear such a heavy load for any distance.  I considered the question a compliment and took pride that I made the loop solo with such a load.  But, I also learned that for the spiritual journey of life, we are more effective when we are not overburdened in the first place.

A Weary Self Portrait (© John Gresham)

The more things the disciples carried, the more they would be distracted by the things they had to lose.  Food, shelter, and clothing are necessary.  But, when we tie these things on to our faith, we damage our ability to effectively minister to the world.  Where is the repentance in our possessions?  Can a devil be driven out by homes and cars?  And what if we are called to pay the ultimate dues for our belief in Jesus, aren’t we tempted to use our wealth to bribe our way out of lesser cost?  How much more would we try to use it not to die for the cross?

John the Baptist preached with mercy and power that a wicked king would listen reverently even if he didn’t repent.  Herod had him killed only because he made an oath based on momentary lust.  John wore a camel’s-hair garment and ate locust and wild honey.  He had nothing to corrupt him and preached the incorruptible Christ.  Avoid the corruption of possessions by having only what you need to do the will of Christ.  By this, our witness of the Gospel becomes so evident and true that even our enemies will be reluctant to kill us.  Make sure your backpack isn’t too heavy.  You may not be able to go the distance and reach the summit.

Yours in Christ,

Brother Cyprian Bluemood

Order of Saint-Simon of Cyrene

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