"Take nothing for your journey"

On recommendation by Andy Alexis-Baker (a Jesus Radicals friend), I'm staying with Biff Weidman, a pastor at the Fellowship of Hope Mennonite church in Elkhart. Years ago, Fellowship of Hope used to be a common purse intentional community like Reba Place, and a few of the Reba interns grew up here. The house I'm in was formerly the home of a big communal household. Now it's used for hospitality. There are pictures from the Catholic Worker and quotes by Thomas Merton and Charles deFoucauld on the walls, so I feel very comfortable here. This morning, I prayed with Biff and a few other women, then we had breakfast together and a good discussion.

Perusing the bookshelves, I found this passage in Take Nothing For Your Journey, by Mary Fritz (a commentary on Lk 9.1-6):

"Take nothing for your journey" means detachment; not to possess or be possessed... the condition for preaching the Kingdom and healing.

The truth is, nothing and no one belongs to me. If I am gifted with some thing or some person, the only truthful posture is gratitude, reverence, the open hand, awe. As soon as I grab on to, clutch, cling, chain down or pull apart, I sin against the truth. I destroy the givenness of reality. I become lost in an illusion.

The nakedness with which I came from the womb and the nakedness with which I will be returned to the earth, the empty hands and helplessness of birth and death, describe the parameters of the non-possessive life, i.e., TOTAL.

The only thing I will have to call mine... the only thing I will have to bring back to the Father, will be my "heart," that is, the real self, where truths contemplated have made a difference... where loves have become communions and not conquests.

When I read "...the open hand..." I was immediately reminded of something Heather once wrote.

(And, lest we take this non-possessiveness in a merely "spiritual" sense, it's good to recall Jacques Ellul's words:
It is much too easy when we are rich in money to talk as if we were poor, to speak of spiritual detachment, and so forth. The Bible expressly condemns this attitude...
For more, see this previous journal entry.)