Posted by: geolocke | 2015/08/17

A Momentary Lapse Of Doubt

In a little more than a day’s time, I’ll be leaving to visit a mission that our Parish sponsors in Guatemala. The mission is a small boarding school for Mayan girls that is located up in Guatemala’s central highlands. This Country and her people are beautiful – heartbreakingly beautiful.  Their beauty radiates from their spirits within them as well as from the landscapes all about them. It is that beauty of Spirit and Land which has drawn me back time and again over the last 13 years.

Preparing for this trip has been harder on me this time than it was in times past. It has been four years since my last journey to this land of eternal spring. It has been a time of personal tragedies, deaths of family members and friends, near-incapacitating illness for loved-ones and myself, and changes at work, church, and home that have threatened to upset my equilibrium. Yet, despite all these matters, I still felt called back to visit the school, the Country, and her people and I have had trouble reconciling my call to discipleship against my responsibility to my family and my work.

Then the other morning I was reading/praying over the following scripture from the end of Chapter 9 of Luke’s Gospel:

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “[Lord,] let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” [To him] Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

There is a similar passage near the end of the 14th chapter of Luke’s Gospel:

“If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

These scriptural passages trouble me every time I hear or read them, and here lately, they seem to be directed toward me personally. In the past the situations I mentioned above paralyzed me from acting on my desire to return to the School. Questions would always arise such as “Is it financially responsible for me to take off and leave?”; “Do I dare leave my family here and travel out of contact?”; “What if something happens while I am gone?”; and so forth. I still have those questions today, and even more, and yet this time I’m going. So what’s changed?

In what I can only describe as a flash of insight, I understood that Christ’s message was not so much about placing harsh conditions upon the call to discipleship, but rather (to me, at least) these passages are a call to invest my faith in Christ’s call to discipleship, knowing that regardless of what happens to those I leave behind, God will take care of them. Call it an instant of maturing faith or perhaps only a momentary lapse of doubt, but regardless of what it was, I knew in that instant that whatever happens either here or there, everything will be ok because I am following Christ’s call to serve.

And Christ himself even alludes to that later in Luke’s Gospel in Chapter 18:

“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive [back] an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”

So the question remains, “why am I going now and what will I be doing down there?” I can tell you that it will not be construction work, nor teaching, nor infrastructure projects. Rather, I will just be a witness to the good works that have been accomplished through the faith of our combined communities of Parish and Mission. Our group will be witness to the continuing struggle and perseverance of the Mayan families and villages, the poorest of the poor, who sacrifice all they have in order to send their girls to school to get an education in the hope that their girl’s lives and the lives of the generations that follow might be better than their own. And we will be witness to the Sisters of the Annunciation who have left their own homes and their own families to live in this land through good times and bad times in order to bring the Good News to the Mayan populations of the Guatemalan highlands in part by providing an education to the least of the Children of God. And through our witness, perhaps we can reassure these beautiful people that our community continues to stand with them and support them so that all their sacrifices will not have been made in vain.

Thank you all for your prayers, your support, and your good wishes.

God Bless you each and every one! -geo

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Responses

  1. Yes, I too have been troubled/intrigued by this gospel passage. I paraphrase it for myself thusly: “What you do in My Name, do. Do not look back to reflect on how good (or bad) the work was done. Do not look back in wistfulness or doubt. Just do it in My Name and move on.”

    Like


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