There’s no turning back now. I have allowed, even encouraged, my son to go to Uganda on his first mission trip (apart from living in Singapore for seven plus years) and his plane took off this evening. What comes next? I really do not know.
I’d like to think he comes back happy, excited for the Lord, and passionate about serving. I’d like to think that his enthusiasm rubs off on other youth in the Church, that they choose to go to Africa, China, or some where else, and that the adults catch that enthusiasm, too.
But it is possible, my son will come back so grateful for what he has in America that he tunes out God’s compassion for the world and that the Church decides it is all simply an expensive vacation for the rector’s son. Ouch.
My son stepped out in faith today. God answered financially and prayerfully; God provided the team and the opportunity. And I stepped out too, learning to practice what I preach. Like most pastors and priests, I want my Church to grow in a safe, exciting and generally predictable manner. I have seen people get hurt and even give up their faith because of the crazy stuff and the very real sin that happens in Churches which are out of control.
Honestly, I have a suspicion that this could be a turning point for our congregation–I have preached and taught consistently that missions has a way of confronting us, showing us where we are lazy and selfish. I have said that missions has a way of challenging the Church to step up and to step out in faith–that missions is the exercise that makes the Church healthy and strong. And I want to see that demonstrated in my parish church.
But I am not in control: God is. I am about to watch and see what God will do. There is no turning back now. I will be praying Hebrews 10:23 & 24 in the days to come, confident that while I am not in control, I can trust our Lord Jesus to follow through on what he has promised, to keep his word, and to be true to his character as revealed in the Scriptures. He died that all might come to know his saving grace, his extravagant generosity of the gift of eternal life in his presence. And his passion for all people is such, that he did not command us to go, but made it a presupposition, “While you are going, make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19). Therefore:
Hebrews 10: 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.