Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Home again

Why go there? It’s a question one comes to expect when doing mission trips. The same question must have crossed God’s mind as infant Jesus grew in Mary’s womb and adult Jesus went from early “success” (huge crowds) to final distress and the tomb. Imagine God in a more Grecian context, with divine buddies laughing at the holy folly of thinking that mess could be cleaned up, or puzzling internally, in our Hebrew formed fashion, over this strange compulsion to “save the world.” It’s that same apparently nonsensical pattern we follow when we give up vacation, pay the expense to travel, loose sleep, strain muscles, work on a shoestring budget, problem solve fixes contractors give up on. We go into the world’s failures. We are drawn into the heart of God. What good did the cross do? Is it just a reminder of human cruelty, of how hard we push away God’s love? What good does a week with untrained adolescent roofers, dry-wallers, and carpenters do? Isn’t it just spitting in the wind of the next hurricane, or the overwhelming poverty of a 3rd world country, or what rational people know those people out to do? Today’s Sojourner’s email (subscribe at carried a thought from Langston Hughes that I hadn’t heard before: When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul. -from his short story "Last Whipping" What strikes me about this today, three days back, is the way our souls are cared for on our trips. When Lynn and Pat and their teams return form Zambia, their souls are polished and glowing. The Dulac team was immersed in the soul care of their homeowner, Johnnie’s prayers and faith stories. Doug and Jeff’s roofing crews received home-cooked soul food. Chuck’s dry-wallers received the gift of competence and confidence with a glimpse of a homeowner whose faith has carried his family through generations of travail. All of us were swept up in the glory of a home dedication where we workers were Ms Yolanda’s guests. We were cared for by those we went to take care of. It’s good to be home, whether in the melting hills of Maine, or the bunk houses of Louisiana, home in God’s heart. Dear God, we pray that You will make this house a home again, where Your love dwells. We pray that those who enter its doors will praise you. (Litany of dedication for Yolanda’s home)

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