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Aboard the Silver Whisper on February 20, 2022

sunny 74 °F

HYMN: Joyful, joyful we adore thee

For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15)

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Psalm 34:1-10

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
I will glory in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.

Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord; let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Look to him, and be radiant; and let not your faces be ashamed.
I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me and saved me from all my troubles.

The angel of the Lord encompasses those who fear him, and he will deliver them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in him.

Fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for those who seek him lack nothing.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere. (9:1-6)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

A Reflection

The Reverend William J. Eakins

“Take nothing for your journey; no staff, no bags, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic.” With these clear imperatives, Jesus sends his disciples to go out to spread the Good News of God’s Kingdom. The disciples are to travel very light indeed – no luggage, no provisions of any kind, just the clothes on their backs, totally dependent on the hospitality of strangers. They are apparently not even to plan their itinerary, but just to follow their noses and see what opportunities arise as they walk along the road from village to village.

How different from the preparations we have made for this cruise! My wife and I have filled very drawer and closet of our cabin with our clothes. Talk about extra tunics! WE have things to wear on formal, informal, and casual nights, clothes for lounging on deck and (eventually) for swimming in the pool, and clothes for excursions on shore in all kinds of climes and temperatures. We even have these vestments for church! And we have an itinerary that pretty much arranges where we will be for the months ahead. We have a supply of American currency and some foreign currencies; we have a variety of credit cards as well as our bankcard. Only a few things have been left to chance.

However, having a lot of baggage creates challenges, not only on a cruise but in life. Possessions come with responsibilities. Investments need to be managed; property needs to be maintained. Houses need to be watched, decorated, repaired; heating systems checked, gardens tended. Bills and taxes need to be paid. And then there the issues about what we will finally DO with everything we have accumulated in life. Who will inherit and how much? The more we have the greater the problems. And if we are not careful, our possessions may end up possessing us, robbing our lives of freedom and happiness.

And possessions are not the only baggage that can weigh us down in life. There is also the emotional and spiritual baggage of prejudice, bitterness, resentment, regret, grudges, shame, guilt, fear. What heavy loads these are to bear. How much they can distort and stifle our lives.

I once met a woman who told me that she dreaded Christmas because her husband had run off with a bimbo and left her with practically nothing. She couldn’t even have her children with her for a Christmas dinner because her husband had taken all the silver. I tut-tutted sympathetically and asked when her husband had left her. “Fifteen years ago,” she wailed. Fifteen years! Surely in fifteen years the woman could have acquired some cutlery – or used plastic - or borrowed some. Surely she could have found a way to celebrate Christmas with her children. But instead of getting on with life, she had let the heavy burdens of anger and resentment keep her locked in the past, a helpless, joyless victim.

“Take nothing for your journey,” says Jesus. Jesus first said these words to his disciples to keep them focused on their mission of spreading the Good News that God reigns. What might Jesus’ admonition to travel light mean to us? Is he saying that we should have come on this cruise with only the clothes on our backs? Is he advising us to divest ourselves of all that we possess and live as paupers? I don’t think so. What I think Jesus is saying to us is not to become so obsessed with worries about our business or our loved ones back home that we fail to see and enjoy the blessings of this voyage that we are so privileged to take. Jesus is also warning us not to be so concerned about holding on to our wealth that our hearts are hardened to the many people around us who are struggling just to get by, not to be so worried about getting that we lose the joy of giving. Jesus is also urging us not to be so bogged down with the burdens of the past that we cannot receive and share the gifts that God wants to give us right now, precious gifts like forgiveness, healing, joy and hope. Life is too short and life is too valuable to waste it on excess baggage.

When I was a few years younger, I enjoyed backpacking. I can vividly recall the sense of freedom and exhilaration, the joy of setting out on a mountain trail high above the tree line, vistas stretching in every direction, carrying on my back all I needed for the journey ahead. I hear Jesus calling us to a similar freedom and sense of adventure as we continue on the journey that is our life. Travel light, says Jesus. Take nothing for your journey but the Good News that God is in charge. Remember that there is a price for excess baggage. Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.

Miracles happen when we let go of our preconceptions about what is possible, when we are willing to let go of our certainties and let God be in charge.

Think for example of the miracle of South Africa that happened some thirty years ago. It was a nation bitterly divided by racial prejudice and injustice. The white minority had locked themselves in the cruel fortress of apartheid. The colored and black majority was seething with growing anger and bitter resentment. To many outside observers it looked like a bloodbath would be inevitable.

Then a miracle happened. The leader of the white government opened his mind and his heart to the possibility of change and reached out to blacks and coloreds. And the leaders of the blacks and coloreds responded by articulating their vision of a rainbow nation, where everybody has a vote and equal opportunity. What inspired such change-making leadership on both sides? In part it was pragmatism, but for people like de Klerck on the one hand and Mandela and Tutu on the other, it was even more importantly a vision and a courage born of their faith in God, a God who is big enough and gracious enough to transcend differences and awaken hope.

The Prayers

Let us pray. Gracious and loving God, to you we offer the desires and hopes of our hearts, trusting that you hear our prayers and answer them.

Give wisdom and courage to the leaders of the nations; bless them with a spirit of cooperation, that they may work together for the good of all people. Lord hear our prayer, for those who seek you lack nothing.

Guide and uphold us, so that in times of prosperity we may not lose our zeal and that in times of adversity, we may not lose our faith. Lord hear our prayer, for those who seek you lack nothing.

Heal those weighed down by despair, those suffering from addictions, those burdened by illness, those in troubled marriages. Lord hear our prayer,
for those who seek you lack nothing.

Protect those in armed forces, fire fighters and police, our ship’s crew, and all who work to protect the lives of others. Lord hear our prayer,
for those who seek you lack nothing.

Give us faith in your loving care that we may travel lightly, unburdened by possessions, hard feelings, and regrets that keep us from putting our trust in you. Lord hear our prayer, for those who seek you lack nothing.

Forgive us our sins, for wasting the earth’s resources, for enhancing our own lives at the expense of others, for refusing to be reconciled with those who have hurt us, for discounting and dismissing those who are different from us. Give us grace to amend our lives. Lord hear our prayer,
for those who seek you lack nothing.

Loving God, you sent your Son Jesus to teach us to cast our cares on you; preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties that we may rejoice in your presence, trusting that you are with us always. Amen.

Let us pray in the words our Savior gave us

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them. Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us, granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come, life everlasting. Amen.

The Blessing

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit, and may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

HYMN: Lead us heavenly Father, lead us

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins The Reverend William J. Eakins
Music: Alex Manev Usher: Andrea Ryan

Posted by HopeEakins 10:54

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I would go on these trips just to be able to attend worship led by Hope and Bill!! Hal B.

by BuckinghamHal

I agree with Hal. Bill, your words are thought-provoking. You manage to apply the lessons to those cruise travelers who seemingly lack for nothing material but yearn to be in a deeply-felt relationship to God. Thanks.

by Seabury

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