In chapter 9 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus instructs his apostles to “take nothing for the journey, no walking stick, no bag, no food, no money, not even an extra shirt” (Luke 9:3). As I examined the myriad of items strewn over our queen-size guest bed earlier today and attempted to figure out how to fit them all into my suitcase, a thought instantly came to mind: I would make a lousy apostle.
Like many other Piedmont Singers and accompanying pilgrims, my husband David and I decided to “bookend” our choir tour with side-trips to Iceland and Scotland. This means that, starting tonight, we’ll be out of the country for nearly three weeks.
In my efforts at practicality, I’ve attempted to prepare for nearly any and every adverse situation that might occur during our travels – from a stain on my shirt at dinner, to the onset of COVID symptoms, to a complete nuclear meltdown of the Zaporizhia power plant over Europe, compliments of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Small wonder that I’m an over-packer!
Dave and I have also done our best to prepare our young adult children for potential mishaps on the home front while we’re away, as well as what to do in the unlikely event that we don’t return later this month. As I was typing a list of whom to call in case of emergency, I was surprised by the names of certain individuals who “made the cut” as well as those whose names were omitted. Long distance travel has a way of compelling us to re-evaluate our lives, both in terms of our relationships as well as our possessions.
The truth is, however, that, despite our many preparations, we must eventually let go, trust, and (in the words of Wendy, our director) “travel in God’s bubble.” In Matthew 25, Jesus also tells us not to worry, not for our lives, our bodies, our food, money or clothes. Instead we must rely on him to help us fly like the birds of the air and clothe ourselves like the wildflowers in the field.
As I was writing this blog, I received a text message from Wendy that the first group of travelers arrived safely in Glasgow. Now it’s our turn to head to the airport. My suitcase will just barely make it in under the 50-pound weight limit. Fortunately, God still loves us imperfect little travelers too.