Miniature Walking Cane,
Sculpted by Gavin Turk (born 1967), 
Silver, bronze,
30cm. long, edition of 10,
Executed in 1994
© Gavin Turk artist

Miniature Walking Cane,
Sculpted by Gavin Turk (born 1967), 
Silver, bronze,
30cm. long, edition of 10,
Executed in 1994
© Gavin Turk artist

Gospel of 6 February 2020

Take nothing for the journey except a staff

Mark 6:7-13

Jesus made a tour round the villages, teaching. Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

Reflection on the Miniature Walking Stick

Our artwork is by Gavin Turk, one of the original “YBAs” (“Young British Artists”) who came to dominate Brit-Art in the 1990s. In a career spanning more than 20 years, Turk has created an entire language for questioning authenticity and preconception. Our image today looks like just a photo of a walking stick, but it is a miniature walking cane cast in bronze. So on first glance, it seems a rather ordinary functional object. But by dramatically reducing the size and also by changing the material of the object from wood to bronze, it makes it unusable. It turns a normal object into an artwork...

Jesus in today’s Gospel shows what a team player He is. He delegates his authority and sends out the twelve disciples in pairs. He doesn’t just send them off, he gives them actual authority to help spread the message of God. But Christ is not just addressing the apostles; He is sending all of us on mission. We all share Christ’s mission through our baptism. Through our baptism we became members of His body, a body that reaches out to all men and women in order to lead them to God. Yes, our baptism comes with a responsibility to bear witness to Christ and try and bring His love, wisdom, care, concern, empathy, joy and his healing touch to those who are in need, spiritually and physically… And who is in such need? Everyone!

The sandals and the staff or walking stick that Jesus mentions in our reading, are symbolic for determination and focus.  We have to keep moving forward, focussed on what lies ahead and when we get tired we have the walking stick to help us, as it will be a long long journey… So this reading is about perseverance in our efforts to help Christ build His Kingdom…

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