"Missions doesn't end when the road does." -Monicus Peregrinus (with a tip
of the hat to a Jeep ad). I'm headed out on a prayer-trek beginning in Italy and then on to the Walk of Peace trail in Slovenia.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
One person on the way.
These words from the May 3rd reading in my Celtic Daily Prayer book struck a chord with my pilgrim heart last week. There was a special resonance with my peripatetic nature just now since I’m preparing for an upcoming spiritual pilgrimage. The sparse words succinctly describe my approaching prayer adventure to take God’s Word and God’s Light into a very dark and needy place. In just a few weeks I’ll begin a solo prayerwalk on the Walk of Peace trail in the Soca valley of Slovenia.
Here are the words of the job request I am fulfilling:
“(You) will fast and light backpack while prayer-trekking the Walk of Peace trail in the Soca valley of NW Slovenia while distributing Gospel materials… This assignment is specifically for those who sense a distinct calling to battle in the spiritual realm for the souls of the lost while offering them eternal life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
This is an adventure into contrast. The Soca valley is one of the most beautiful places in all of God’s creation. Set in the lower Julian Alps it’s a pristine adventure play land with trail-running, mountain biking, kayaking, parasailing, Alpine trekking, mountain climbing and a dozen other outdoor activities. But it is also a place of troubled history and spiritual darkness. The Walk of Peace trail was created to commemorate over one million men who lost their lives in this valley during World War I. The Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops spent 18 months slowly killing each other in this beautiful valley. This mass destruction of life has scarred the land and the people. It callused their hearts.
The Soca valley is a spiritually thick place – a place where there is a heavy curtain between heaven and earth, between God and people. Slovenia is less than one tenth of one percent Evangelical Christian. That means it has a lower percentage of Christians than Saudi Arabia and many other “non-Christian” countries. Slovenes are very much post-Christian and, as one Slovene told us, have outgrown the Bible’s fables and fairy tales.
But God has not given up on Slovenia. That is why he has called me and others to bring his word and his light into this dark land. I’ll be leaving in a few weeks for a 6 day prayer-trekking adventure along the 60 mile Walk of Peace. As I trek the Walk of Peace I will be praying with and for the people I meet. I will be praying over the lives, homes and businesses that I see in the valleys below me. I will also be giving out ink pens with the address to the website GotQuestions.org where they can find Biblical answers to some of the questions of life.
I’ve turned the phrases from the Celtic Daily Prayer book into a breath prayer which I’ve repeated over and over as I prepare physically, emotionally and spiritually for the journey that awaits me. As I breathe in I pray “One word”. As I breathe out I pray “One light”. On the second in breath I pray “One person” and then as I exhale “on the way”. God has used this breath prayer to fuel the passion in my heart for Slovenes and for the pilgrimage/adventure that lies ahead of me. My underlying prayer is that God will use the faithfulness of this one wandering pilgrim monk to bring His Word and His Light into this dark land.
Please join me in praying for the people of Slovenia and for my upcoming pilgrimage on the Walk of Peace trail.