The Palindrome in My Car

{Re}peat: I wrote this post back in May 2011. Here it is again, on the last day of palindrome week 7-19-17. Enjoy!

My commute to work is often long and boring. So to entertain myself, I’ve been marking palindromes on my odometer. A palindrome is a word or phrase that’s the same forward and backward. An example is 43034.

The palindrome only lasts for a single mile and when it’s over, I’m in a completely different place than when it started. As I’ve pondered this, I’ve tried to put it into some kind of context.

Moments move on whether I catch the palindrome or not. Moments we can never get back. Moments can take you to a completely different place than where you were when they started.

As I was reading the Bible recently, I stumbled upon Luke 22:35-38 and it truly surprised me:

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” [Peter would need one when he decides to cut off the soldier’s ear. I always wondered where that sword came from; they weren’t supposed to have it yet. Commentary all mine.]

“That’s enough!” he replied.

This surprised me because earlier on in Luke, Jesus is very clear with his disciples. As he was commissioning them to go out and spread the word he told them to take very little with them and to rely solely on others who would receive them.

In the not too distant past several of my friends and I were studying the passage in Matthew 10:9-10:

“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.”

If you have several women in one room – you’re going to see several handbags. Large, small, oversized. We take them everywhere we go. When we got to this scripture, we started looking at our bags. Truth be told, we rarely need any of the stuff that’s in there. Yet, we schlep them around with us wherever we go. We started putting them in front of us.

The disciples were supposed to be totally focused on the work at hand – growing the kingdom of God while they had the Messiah walking and talking with them every day. They didn’t need to worry about carrying money, packing picnics or hunting for food. Most meals were miraculously provided. Their shoes didn’t wear out. Their tunics didn’t become threadbare. They didn’t need money – after all Jesus even helped them pay their taxes with a coin found in a fish’s mouth. Jesus’s very presence saw to their every need.

Jesus is telling his disciples that everything is about to change – they’ve finished the mile. They’re about to be in a completely different place. And, they’re about to have to take steps of faith and courage that they had yet to take.

It’s important to mark and recognize our time and place – to look out for palindromes and other signs that help us see God’s grace, provision and care. We’re not where we were. And by the time I post this – I’ll be in another place. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so fascinated with the space time continuum.