Minister's Message: An Incredible Journey!

It was a once in a lifetime experience.
Travelling in Peru for a month with a friend who speaks fluent Spanish, bunking with my sister, living adventures and diversity of culture, histories, regions - so amazing!

When we left Ayacucho on Sunday to head further into the mountains we took a wrong turn, easily done as there are few road signs. We ended up far from our destination of Huancavelica and had to decide what to do. Hours on a mountainous dirt road or heading to the coast and the eventual return to Lima? We stopped beside a herd of llamas and alpacas and waved at the shepherd higher on the mountainside. The river flowed forcefully with fresh mountain waters as it is the rainy season. The sun was shining; we looked at the map and enjoyed the moment. We opted for the coast and within six hours found ourselves in Pisco and Paracas, in a desert on the ocean. From 9 to 30 degrees in a few hours. Through snow-capped mountains, valleys, along the bursting rivers to a desert where there is annually 5mm of rain. It was this type of contrast that made the exploration of the country so interesting, in a rented car that made it through mudslides, rock falls and mountainous roads with rivers gushing over the highway.

I have been reading the Gospel of Matthew while away. I left soon after Epiphany Sunday with the visiting Magi. The gospel moves quickly from Birth to Baptism, Temptation and Preaching. As Jesus made decisions about directions and roads the Gospel record puts the emphasis on the calling of disciples and the preaching and the healing of so many people. I could imagine in the Andes the news of a healer within reach and the desperate travels to see, hear and be touched by him.

“News about Jesus spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill, those suffering severe pain, the demon possessed, the epileptics and the paralytics, and Jesus healed them.” (Matthew 4: 23-25).

Whether travels take us far or we stay close to home, it is all about people: their needs, hopes and pain. It is always about relationships.

I sang these familiar words written by Malthie Babcock (VU 296) as I journeyed trough incredible vistas in Peru:

This is God's wondrous world,
and to my listening ears
   all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is God's wondrous world;
I rest me in the thought
   of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
God's hand the wonders wrought.

This is God's wondrous world:
the birds their carols raise;
   the morning light, the lily white,
declare their Maker's praise.
This is God's wondrous world:
God shines in all that's fair;
   in the rustling grass or mountain pass,
God's voice speaks everywhere.

It is so good to be home and to return to a familiar routine. As we continue into 2019, may we know courage for the journey of love, learning, healing and service to all those who need our presence, hope and prayers.

Rev. David