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  • Writer's picturehschoenfield

Nourishment like light

Mark 6:1-13

Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown and among their own kin and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff: no bread, no bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

There is

nourishment like 

bread that feeds 

one part of your life 

and nourishment

like light for 


There are many 

rules about 

restraint with 

the former,

but only one rule

for the latter, 

Never be satisfied.

Eat and drink the 

soul substance, as 

a wick does with 

the oil it soaks in.

Give light to the 




In the gospel readings over the past several weeks, Jesus has been crossing from one side to another — encountering those who were seeking healing (and who were ready to be healed) on one side and encountering religious authorities on the other who questioned the origin of Jesus’ authority to teach and heal.

This theme continues this week — only now it’s not the religious authorities who are questioning him but those of his own home town — those who think that they know who he is and what limits his background places upon him. And “he could do no deed of power” among those who were stuck in their “disbelief”, as the text says.

It’s helpful to recall that healing in Jesus’ time was an act of bringing people back into alignment with Sacred Unity. In our times, we might think of an energy healer — somebody who can sense what is contracted, or ill at-ease and, to the degree that we are open, help us to relax back into wholeness.

So when it comes to the sending of his students, Jesus has opened them to be a channel of healing connection to the Source — to Sacred Unity. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff: no bread, no bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.

As I read this text yesterday, a friend pointed out that right above me was this Rumi poem. And the “nourishment like bread that feeds one part of your life and nourishment like light for another”, as Rumi says.

There’s a striking parallel here — take no bread with you — that substance about which there are many rules for restraint. We can perceive, perhaps, that Jesus is inviting his students to be nourished by the “nourishment like light.” To rely on this soul substance — their connection to Source, to Sacred Unity.

It’s easy for us human beings to try to rely on our own resources. It’s really tempting, especially in uncertain times like the ones in which we are living, to close off to others who might challenge our authority or perspective. 

And yet, we are invited to something else. We are invited to open to our deepest connection — the connection to ourselves, to each other, and to the Source of all.

What is one way of allowing ourselves to be open this week — one way of being nourished by the soul substance? How can we live and work from there? In what way can we give light to the company?

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