The Faithnetworker Newsletter
Vol. 4. No. 1, February 23, 2003
A Small World
Cool Scripture Cite
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore
go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them
to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age." --Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20)
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You can travel to other countries with just a few mouse clicks. Read
newspapers from all over the world:
The search continues for pieces of the space shuttle Columbia. Like
most Americans, I was stunned when I heard the news over my car radio
while running errands that Saturday. A few moments later, while browsing
through a bookstore, the manager announced the news for her patrons
over the public address system. Not many types of news warrant
the distraction of bookstore customers, but this one felt appropriate.
Besides, who wasn't distracted? My wife and I could barely focus
on anything else. And, throughout the day, we kept "remembering" the
awful truth of what we'd heard. The following Sunday morning, I
was asked to call out the names of our lost astronauts during a
special time of prayer.
What is it that drives us to continue exploring our world, even at grave
risk? It is certainly a human drive. But, more than that, our Judeo-Christian
heritage fosters it. Abraham was called by God to be a "stranger
in a strange land," to faithfully claim a new land for his descendents.
True to that vision, 400 years later, Moses lead the Israelites from
Egypt back to their spiritual homeland. There they were to reclaim their
identity as "priest to the nations." Centuries passed and the
Hebrews left their land once again during the Assyrian and Babylonian
conquests. Their return a generation later only presaged the ongoing
ebb and flow of their identification with their homeland.
Jesus instilled within the Christian movement an outward focus by teaching
his disciples to go "to the ends of the earth." They did. Paul
led the way by journeying all over the Roman world with the teachings
of Christianity. That missionary spirit embedded itself in Christianity.
Eventually, Christians would come to the New World--the Americas--out
of their religious motivations.
Such is the spiritual journey. It is about going forth. It is also about
coming home. Even in our individual journeys, we venture forth from our
familiar places to discover new ways of seeing God, the world, and ourselves.
In the process, we are deeply changed as we contribute to change in the
world. Then, in our connections with others, we foster community. As
we return to our faith community with the treasures of our sojourns,
we foster change at home.
Therein lie the risks of going forth and coming home. Just as NASA's
greatest tragedies have been both on lift-off and re-entry, so the dangers
of our spiritual journeys are heightened during these experiences of
moving out and moving in. As we explore new spiritual vistas, there are
the risks of finding that our comfortable beliefs are incomplete or illusionary.
Sojourning with the Spirit is a journey of personal growth and development.
Likewise, our re-entries into community entail the risks of challenging
staid institutions and outgrown structures. Additionally, we owe it to
ourselves and others to refine our new awarenesses with the collective
wisdom of our faith community.
The Spirit of God is an exploring spirit. Will you join in the exploration?