Leanne's Prius carried us miles stretched across smooth ribbons of road. In the air conditioned hybrid we found our conversation drawn to the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 5-7 The Message (MSG)
5 1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
These words both trouble and comfort.
The Traveling Chucks has been a gift. These remarkable women I get to adventure with have inspired and encouraged me on a soul-level. From our first trip days after I took our two oldest children to boarding school a country away on a foreign continent in 2010, to this last trip in 2017 God has shown up. He spoils us by showing us the wonder of this planet and the joy of traveling together. We've been on land and sea, near and far. We've seen elephants, hippos, and african grey parrots in the wild. We've even rescued a sea turtle much to the chagrin of a Gabonese fisherman. God is the author of adventure and friendship. He knits us together in this great big life. A life fraught with heartache and loss as well as love and purpose.
The Sermon on the Mount is a clear call us to live out His Kingdom culture. His Kingdom culture is vastly different from the cultures of this planet. It's a tall order and one that can not be fleshed out in my strength alone. I need His Spirit and fellow adventures to inspire and encourage me along the way. Honestly everyday I have to fight against the culture of this world that values self and comfort and puzzles over such sentiments of being less in order to be filled more with God. I can be so easily swayed by HGtv and entertain thoughts that pop-corn ceilings are evil and granite counter tops are the answer to the all that ails.
Thank you fellow Traveling Chucks:
Lisa Marie Mangang
Stephanie Meckley (Bean)
Robin Roark Frey
And thank you to the many, too numerous to count, that have sojourned with me in this life. Our feet are not just shod with classic canvas converse shoes but vastly more importantly, "with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15).