Both of my preteen daughters have more years behind them than years left at home. I think about this as I read about Jesus sending out the Twelve, instructing them to bring nothing to care for themselves. Most striking is that they are given no return instructions. We have no idea how long they will be gone or when they will see Jesus or each other again.
When it’s their time to leave home, my girls will receive no instructions for return. But this is true for all our journeys. We have no idea how long anything will last—a job, a relationship, an illness, a life, a happy season, or a hard one. We will go out, depend on others, offer what we have, and pray for welcome.
Later in Mark 6, the disciples return and report all they had done and taught. Before rejoining their wider community, Jesus instructs them, “Come away by yourselves . . . and rest a while.” So they go off on a boat with “no opportunity even to eat.” This is when the crowd sees and follows them—not while driving out demons or curing the sick, but coming home. And this, of course, becomes the crowd of five thousand that Jesus will feed with five loaves and two fish. I find consolation in the disciples’ return and in Jesus’ wisdom that they needed space to reunite. That they must come home and create home. The place from which we are sent doesn’t just wait for us; it asks us for renewal, and reminds us that others are watching, ready to gather.
Melody S. Gee
Melody S. Gee is the author of The Convert’s Heart is Good to Eat, The Dead in Daylight, and Each Crumbling House. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and daughters.