Whenever I go on a trip, I like to be prepared for any and all contingencies. This was by far the most apparent when I was involved with bagpipe bands, which meant competitions and practices and parades every weekend of the summer from May to October. I kept a tent, ground cloth, spare tarp, sleeping bag and pad, three spare blankets, ropes and stakes, hammer, small broom, shovel, and duck tape, plus rain boots and two umbrellas and a poncho, all in my trunk. It often happened that upon reaching the competition site, it was handy to have a tent for rest, changing, or staying overnight before or after the big day. In addition, I kept the body of my car stuffed with four more umbrellas, reading books of at least five different fiction genres, storage box of CDs for listening, a couple knitting projects, spare shoes and socks, sweater or jacket and spare pants. I had sunscreen and bug-spray, a first aid kit, and emergency granola bars.I had a sewing kit and a bible somewhere in a door pocket, jumper cables and extra car jack squirreled away around the camping gear in the trunk. I became more of the "band mom" than some of the family members who would come along in support, because I had everything.
There were a couple competitions when I forgot my bagpipes and had to turn around and go back home to get them. I was so distracted by the contingency stuff, the baggage I carried, that I neglected to remember the important part, the reason for going out in the first place.
Sunday's gospel reading (Mark 6:1-13) seems to be two different stories pressed together. In the first, Jesus is preaching at home, teaching the people who taught him - lots of baggage. Everyone is so distracted by the baggage, that Jesus has a hard time teaching or "doing deeds of power", and the people in his hometown cannot believe that little Jesus is making such a name for himself. Jesus, who normally travels very light, taking only what is offered to him, enters his hometown with baggage weighing him down. Then the story shifts gears to the commission to the twelve disciples to go in pairs, taking nothing extra with them. Jesus tells the disciples to travel light, but also to "shake the dust off" of any house that rejects them. Do not take baggage from one encounter into the next.
These days, my car only has 3 umbrellas, a bowling ball and bowling shoes, grocery bags, tissues, and emergency kit (including first aid and jumper cables!) as permanent residents. Sometimes a book or two, or a bike, or a knitting project sneaks in, but I have been trying to be better conscious of my baggage, and shake the dust of it out of my car before I go anywhere else.