On Sunday morning I received an email from Lisa Gwock that our Guatemala mission team had arrived safely. A group of eleven from West End are spending this week working with ODIM Guatemala (Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya) to serve with the Indigenous Maya in the areas surrounding Lake Atitlan, a few hours for Guatemala City. As you go about your day today, or as you say your prayers this week, take a moment to remember all of those who are sharing in that ministry together.
A few weeks before the mission team left, Lisa asked me to write a devotional to go in the prayer guide that she was putting together for them. Since the scripture text I talk about is one that we will hear together in worship in a couple of weeks, I thought I’d share that devotional with you here this morning:
In this season of Easter, we often read stories from the Book of Acts, telling us how the good news of Jesus’ resurrection spread throughout the Mediterranean world. One of my favorite stories is about Philip (Acts 8). The angel of the Lord says to him, “Get up and go,” and he gets up and goes! He runs! And he meets an Ethiopian man who has been excluded from Temple worship because he is a foreigner and a eunuch. Philip enthusiastically welcomes him and shares the good news of Jesus with him. Because the Spirit has gone ahead of Philip, the man enthusiastically receives him and the love he offers. I love the mutuality of this encounter. Both men are open. Both are enthusiastic. Both respond to the movement of the Spirit.
Like Philip, you have heard the Spirit saying to you, “Get up and go.” You have left your daily routines and responsibilities to travel to another land for the sake of God’s love. I imagine that you travel today with the enthusiasm and expectancy of Philip. Trust that the Spirit goes ahead of you to prepare the way. You will be received and welcomed. It will not necessarily be clear who is serving whom, because the work of the Spirit is like that. The blessing will be mutual.
As you travel today, take a moment to breathe in the Holy Spirit and to open yourself to the blessings that God is preparing for you in the week ahead. And know that the prayers of your congregation go with you!
Those of us who are going about our day here at home are also called to “get up and go.” We are invited to share the good news of God’s love and compassion with everyone we meet today. Whether you’re packing kids’ lunches, diagnosing patients or planning a meeting, you are Christ’s representative in the world today. May you feel the enthusiasm of the Holy Spirit as you go!
Prayer: God of love and God of power, surround the members of our Guatemala team with your strength and peace. Inspire us here at home to see our everyday work as part of your mission in the world. Help the loving light of Christ to shine through us in all of our words, actions and thoughts this day. Amen.
Scripture for Sunday: 1 John 3:16-24 (Youth Sunday!)