Last week I had the opportunity to travel with a delegation of members from Plymouth UCC-Des Moines to visit Ebenezer Baptist Church in Havana, Cuba for eight days. The purpose of the trip was to continue to grow and to make official the “sister church” relationship between the two congregations. It was a friendship-building trip, not a mission trip, not a vacation, nor a tourist adventure.
I’m sure I’ve not been on such a trip before. It was a remarkable eight days. And I came home with stories, pictures, and fear.
I am afraid that I will lose the “magic” of the trip over time. I am afraid that I will let the profound seeds of growth and change from the trip be perfectly preserved in acid-free scrapbook pages, never to actually sprout into the full gifts they may be in me and in the world. I am afraid of sounding trite when I answer my friends’ questions, “How was your trip?” with my, “It was really life-changing.” And I am more afraid that my words won’t be true.
Fear is a powerful force. It can be motivating. It can also be paralyzing. I haven’t uploaded my pictures from the trip yet to our group’s shared Google drive or to my Facebook page. I think I’m being held by my fear on this one. I want to hang on to them and not put them, “away,” like I’ve done after other trips I’ve taken. I am afraid that if I do the things I’ve done before, then I will get the same results. But I’m not quite sure what I need to do differently yet. So, my pictures have become a metaphor for my life right now, held captive by my fear.
I haven’t figured out what to do with the churning in my soul and mind yet. And the recognition of this churning as a feeling of fear reminds me of the fear in our Holy Week scriptures. There was chaos and confusion that last week of Jesus’ life. There was deception and betrayal. There was crippling grief and paralyzing fear.
But we know the rest of the story. We know that fear doesn’t win the last word. Life wins. Hope wins. Love wins.
I’m going to sit with my fear for a bit longer and see what it has to teach me. But I do so with faith (and therefore some deep comfort), knowing there is more to come of the story, a great glorious more! May your Holy Week be blessed with the churning of your soul and the gift of enough fear to captivate you and enough faith to comfort you.
Blessings for the Journey,
Brigit Stevens, ACM Iowa Conference UCC