What a whirlwind through Europe! I’ve barely had time to keep up with email, much less post any blogs. But yesterday I arrived in the Irish countryside, and a day or so just to rest and catch up before others soon come to town. Over the next week a number of people from all over the world are coming to Ireland to spend time with each other and time with an amazing group of Irish believers in and around Dublin who have shared relational community for nearly 30 years. I hope to blog a bit about this if I have time, and if not I’ll fill folks in on future podcasts at The God Journey.
One of the joys of this trip, too, is that I’ve had a lot of wireless connections, so that Sara and me have had regular video chats via Skype. And last night I got to talk to and see y daughter and granddaughter as well. Wonderful! But right now, I’m sitting in my upstairs room in the countryside with a lovely view of green gardens and trees all around. It is quite peaceful and I’ve had a blessed morning connecting with Jesus, catching my breath and working on some backlogged computer things. And how I’ve needed that this morning!
The last week is a bit of a blur. Sometimes I cram too much into my schedule and last week might have been a good example. I was a night in London before coming down for three days in Bournemouth. Then I flew to Holland for two quick days and then back to Bournemouth for two more. Each day has been quite full whether I’ve been sharing with people, doing a bit of touring, or connecting to planes and trains. That’s me above on Wednesday morning seeing a bit of Amsterdam before flying back to the UK. Fred, a wonderful brother showed me the city. We even got a chance to take a boat through the canals and catch the beauty and flavor of the city. The day before I’d toured an old fortress in the Dutch countryside with some other people I met here. I even got to play around of golf in England. And all of that was filled with conversations about Jesus and his work in our lives. It’s all been grand, but it has finally caught up to me.
I have met with folks form all over the continuum of spiritual journeys, from those who wanted to defend their systems, to those freshly disillusioned, to those who are well on this journey learning to live deeply in God without all the bondage of religious obligation. I’ve enjoyed everyone I’ve met and we’ve wandered into some fascinating and sometimes hilarious conversations.
One of the themes that has been consistent in this trip that Jesus wants to show each of us how to follow him and disconnect our dependency of following another man’s methods or models. Whenever we are following a strategy, we are not following him. Whenever we look for someone else to tell us what we should be doing, we are not following him. When we try to implement a model of discipleship or church life, we are not following him. It’s not at the example and words of others can’t be helpful in sorting out our own journey, but they dare not become a substitute for the gift he has given us all to love him, listen to him, and to follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
But we do have 1800 years of Christian religious history that argues against that hope and freedom, convincing people to passively follow another, instead of learning to listen and follow him! Nothing more divides between religion and reality, than whether Jesus is the one we’re following, or whether we’re trying to find his life in an institution or another human being.
I pray you have an increasing hope in his ability to teach you how to follow him and to live deeply in his life while he takes shape in you!