Summer is a popular time to get away from home for a while – away from what is routine, familiar, comfortable and easy, and take a journey to experience another culture, another climate, and another way of seeing the world. Kids go to camp, families go to cottages on the beach, and this year, several people I know are going either to Spain or to Alaska. Having just returned from Spain, I can appreciate their interest in the great food, art and architecture, as well as the friendly people of Spain. George and I still have many more places on our “bucket list” to visit. We are so fortunate to be living in a time when distant locations are reasonably within our reach. We can make a non-stop transatlantic journey by plane in 6-10 hours, or like Jered and the J2A kids, we can make a pilgrimage half-way around the world in 15 hours, with jet lag and lost luggage as the most common complaint. There is much wisdom, maturity, knowledge and faith in God to be gained in going beyond what is familiar to us, and in experiencing the diversity of ideas in the people we meet in unfamiliar territory.
I was recently reminded of Sir Francis Drake, who along with being a sixteenth century explorer, was the second person to circumnavigate the globe from 1577-1580, making him a hero to the English and a pirate to the Spaniards. Drake was an adventurer, a man of great ambition, courage and curiosity and traveled all over the world. I am amazed at the number of successful journeys he made across the Atlantic and Pacific, and returned to tell the tales. He wrote the following prayer, Disturb Us, O Lord, during one of his voyages and perhaps we may do well to pray with the same attitude in our life adventures. This prayer is also appropriate as St. Alban’s Parish calls a new rector, the new captain of our ship, who will guide the parish on the next leg of its journey. May our congregation embrace change, new ideas and new ministry with the same faith, courage and wisdom of Sir Francis Drake.
Disturb us, O Lord, when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, O Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
Stir us, O Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow. Amen.