going: Red Letter Challenge

Someone wins something big, like the Super Bowl (boo hiss), and they are asked, “What are you going to do next?”

The winner shouts, “We’re going to Disney World!”

Going. Sometimes we go to celebrate. Wherever we are may be just fine, but there is somewhere we want to be so that we can do something we do not or cannot do in or usual places. “We’re going to Disney World!” We go and for a time we suspend reality. We embrace different rhythms and maybe even personas. I live in the Midwest and I like where I live. But I love the ocean. Why do I love the ocean so much? Every time I have been to the ocean it is on vacation (or as some conference/getaway). My ordinary responsibilities are suspended. My attention is focused on family/friends and enjoying our time together. My going is a welcome respite from my very non-oceany life.

But what about those times when going is not welcomed? Going to prison. Going to the cancer clinic. Going to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Going to pick out the casket. There can be a strong pull to wanting to stay put in these situations. Even when we understand the necessity of going, going can be the hardest thing we have ever done.

When Jesus COMMANDS them to go (Matthew 28:19a), I wonder if the Disciples wrestled with going?

Was there a sense of excitement? Was there a “We’re going to Galatia!” Was there the joy that comes when we plan big trips, anticipating the adventure and the wonder of the experience?

Was it more like, “By ‘go’ do you think he meant literally or literaturely? We could just send a couple of letters, right?”

As it turns out, the Disciples wound up doing both, traveling and writing to those they met or hoped to meet. Maybe this is the most honest going. Going does not have to be all joy or all dread. Could there be a mixture of what we desire and what we would just as soon avoid?

Going. Into the Lenten wilderness where I wrestle with my failings and temptations. It is hard work looking into the dark parts of the self and refusing to excuse them or pretend they do not exist. Into a virtual/physical world still emerging where we build on the past while leaning into the future. It is difficult to plan for and embrace what does not yet exist or which is only vaguely understood. Going into communities I have not yet been to meet neighbors I do not yet know. What if they do not like me or reject my friendship or demand too much of me?

I am praying whenever I go, I go with the excitement of going to Disney World (I actually prefer Land, but that’s another post). I am praying my going feels less like a chore or a punishment or a dreaded task and more like the invitation to a grand adventure. Most of all, I am praying I will be the one who lives a life of going. I want to be where Jesus is and I think that means continually moving to the margins. I want to develop a posture of going that continually seeks to be a sent one deployed wherever it is Jesus would have me be. I want to be so comfortable with going that going is no longer measured by the amount of joy or difficulty to be experienced but is instead a faithful response to the one who goes with me and before me because going means being with Jesus. What do you say? Want to go together?

Life is better together,
Shawn

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