Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sandals for the Journey

sandalsAnother reflection I had from last thursday's Gospel from Mk 6:7-13 was inspired by the sharing of one of the brothers in the seminary. He highlighted the point that when Jesus sent out the twelve, He instructed them to take a staff and to wear sandals because it would be a long journey.

Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, 'Do not take a spare tunic'. - (Mk 6:7-9)
The words "long journey" struck me, and got me thinking. Now that I am on this journey that Christ has sent me on, am I wearing sandals? Why do I need to wear sandals for this journey? And what are these sandals that are going to be helping me on my journey.

It immediately brought to mind what happened to me on my way back to the seminary the day before. I decided to take a slow walk back to the seminary from Punggol MRT station, under the "white elephant" of a LRT line that is not in service, but at least it gives me shade. So as I was walking, reading my book, I realised that I had walked into a patch of mud. Seeing no way of walking around it, I just decided to go through it as quickly as possible. At the end of it, the bottom and sides of my sandals were caked in mud, with just a bit overflowing onto my feet. This image told me that is what sandals are for. They provide comfort from the hard rocks and hot roads and they provide protection for the feet from getting muddy and dirty.

So on this spiritual journey, that we are on, what are these sandals that Christ is asking us to put on? I think it is not so much a what, more of a who. Personally I felt, that these sandals are the close friends that walk with us on this journey. They give us comfort, protect us from getting dirty. But the most striking symbolism that I got out of this whole reflection was, they are the ones that we step on, and so easily take for granted. Only when you make the mistake of walking into mud (or deep shit), and they are the ones who get dirty for you, then you realise the importance of having them.

And that is the amazing about our Lord. He knows that when we start this journey, we would need these sandals. Maybe that is why those who try to go on it alone, either get discouraged, or will find some sandals on their way.Personally, I am glad for the sandals that God has given me. So often I have taken them for granted, and God is reminding me, to take good care of them, because they will take good care of me.

So who are your sandals on your journey? Maybe go up to them, send them a sms or an email, and say:
"Thanks for being my sandals for this journey. Thanks for the comfort and protection you have given me all this time. I know that I don't say this much, but I appreciate all that you have done for me."
And send them a link to this post, so that they know what you are talking about. Not many people like to be called sandals.

Last question...."Who am I a sandal for???" Something to think and reflect about.

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