Mark 6:9

but they were to wear sandals, and not to put on a second coat.


life lines
connect shoes with
public transportation
shirts reveal
a private savings account

we travel
better together
sedately steadily
not speeding erratically
laded heavy footed

steadfast love
at 3 MPH
goes a long way
without a retinue
for luggage


Sandals remind us of our being both in and not of the world. We are separated from the sticky clay of our creation that would hold us back while accumulating dust that reveals our movement.

There are those who would take us back to the basic of clay and dust, as though a “Let there be” didn’t and doesn’t still ring through the air. Mark knows the difficulty of his age and the Twelve are not required to leave all behind to become a cadre of a new creation. The resistance growing against Jesus’ presence will come to the Twelve and a vehicle, sandals, will assist them to move on (see 6:11 on not getting bogged down by proving rightness).

No matter how we walk in the world, its temptation to power (casting out demons) and greed continues to beckon. In John 13 there is a particular recognition that sandals do not keep us from picking up values that would lead us away from a betrayal of new understandings of a journey of theosis or a need for confession when taking easy ways out. A washing of feet is prelude to a commission to love one another as a sign of partnering with Jesus.

The question of being limited to one tunic or shirt or pair of underwear (Waetjen124) has had a variety of suggestions from Arndt and Gingrich identifying two shirts as a “sign of effeminacy” (Bratcher188) to a resistance uniform (Swanson190) or dress code (Myers72) distinct from Roman occupation and signifying dependence upon hospitality of those willing to engage an urgency for a change of heart and a healing of one kind or another.

There are several ways in which people are to go unto their Neighb*r. The details of appearance vary but underlying cultural symbolism of dress and language is the issue of an offering of a choice about abundance to be freely accepted, not coerced. Here the dress emphasizes simplicity and speed up to a point of contact whereupon matters become more complex.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *