“Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; 27in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked.” 2 Corinthians 11:25b-27
…and these are just a few of the many things I hope DON’T happen while we are on the Appalachian Service Project Mission Trip.
This week, starting very early on Sunday morning, 48 missioners from three churches in our diocese: St. Alban’s, St. Columba’s and St. Margaret’s will depart for a week of making homes warmer, safer, and drier. We will certainly have our fair share of adventure while we are serving our brothers and sisters in Washington County, VA, but I think those will be of the paint brush and hammer kind, not the shipwreck and “danger in the wilderness” kind.
However, I DO hope that the work we do, much like the suffering that Paul speaks about in his epistle to the church at Corinth, will be for and to the glory of God. Paul endured these calamities and hardships to show that although these things made him weak, his faith in God in Christ made him strong. We too will have our moments of being tested on our work sites, and I’m certain that every evening when we return to the ASP Center we will be tired with new-found aches of muscles that have done good work.
The adventure on the ASP Mission Trip that we are to about to undertake is being done because these are the types of things that Christ commands us to do: to love our neighbor as ourself; to bring the Good News of the Kingdom come near to those who need to hear and see that Good News.
Here is even more good news: you don’t have to go on the ASP Mission Trip, or live the adventurous life of Paul to bring Good News to the world. Right in your own home, or with those you work, or even those with whom you come in contact, there are dozens of opportunities to share the Good News. Maybe that’s with words, or maybe that’s with actions. How we choose to tell the story of our faith, how we choose to live our lives, the justice and mercy that we can share–on whatever scale we are able–tell the Good News of the resurrected Jesus and the eternal love of God. Are you ready to tell that story? Are you ready to partake in that adventure? What’s holding you back from taking those first steps?
I think what you are doing, Rev. M, is terrific. I know that I would like to go to dangerous places and help–for ex, in the Syrian refugee camps. I am hindered by illness. But what people don’t realize is that even a look, a tone of voice or a gesture can, in the right context, mean something enormous. If somebody is a victim or a sick person or a poor person, voice tone can have a huge effect on their heart. We have an inner structure (spirit) that is very delicate. And the love that you give can be belied by the voice, look, or gesture which can turn a person away. So much in love depends on the delicate details that whole novels can be written that make a drama of these. So we must discipline ourselves interiorally besides actually on the exterior.