Photos and Thoughts…

(Click on the Photo for more Tour Pictures…)

Sitting on the side of the road while waiting for a flat tire to be changed does bring some perspective. First, I have been on four Choir Mission Tours and this is the third time the bus has broken down. Which does not count the time the air conditioner went out on the way to Florida, creating a sweaty mess of a group. All to say, we always go with the cheapest company and as a bonus they provide more bonding time…

Second, if it is the first time you are changing a charter bus tire you should grab a bigger jack on the way out the door…

To the point, while we sat there I mentioned to Keith that I would love to just be zapped home – Star Trek style. Which God has done before, of course Keith reminded me that God would not beam me home, but instead I would land on mission. And he is right, rather than my bed, I am sure I would land in Uganda trying to convince hungry cannibals that God’s Word would make a better meal… But now, I am glad I sat waiting on the bus. Complaining with students – joking with the leaders – watching Keith and Jay dominate Catch Phrase – There is something about community and our struggles. Whether big struggles or small, they draw us together.

But this is the problem with Samson. If you read the rest of Judges, Samson did not bring the community any relief. Instead the end of Judges is filled with chaos. Micah makes idols for worship. A concubine is abused and her death leads to a civil war where Israel nearly wipes out the tribe of Benjamin. In this darkness the book ends. Salvation must wait for the prayers of a mother and her dedication of Samuel… For Samson was not interested in the struggle of his community. He could have plotted and lead the Israelites to throw off the Philistines. Instead he would run into the arms of a woman and his strength was only used to protect himself. Separated from the community’s struggle, Samson’s blessing did not benefit anyone – not even himself.

As our culture moves forward we are ever more able to avoid struggles. From the mundane – not being stuck on the side of the road – to the important – from hunger to drugs to … and so often we choose to avoid. Rather than dive deep into a community for real relationships, we run into the arms of the things we love. Rather than face the rising darkness, we stay close to our own dwindling light. But in this very action our blessing does not pour out into the community. It does not even bring us good. And we will find that our own light has extinguished, because it did not have any fuel to burn…

For in our struggles God will light a fire of blessing that will spread out into the community. To bring renewal beyond any we could imagine – so that we would not be afraid even if He beamed us onto the mission field…

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