That Moment We Part Ways – If Only for a Time

In every great quest story, the ones where a group of friends ventures out on a dangerous task, there comes a deciding moment. In that moment, the odds against them seem overwhelming. There are threats on every side. And yet, it’s clear the quest must be accomplished.

At that moment, there is usually a debate. The majority believes they must stay together at all costs. Safety in numbers. Power in unity. You know the drill. My bent would be to vote with this group.

But then, there’s always one, usually the undeniable leader, who says the words I dread to hear, “No, our best chance is to split up. You, two, take the mountain. You, two, the valley. And you two, remain on the path to divert the enemy.”

You know this guy, right? In the moment, I hate that guy. But, you know what? He’s always right.

That’s what happened after Pentecost. Jesus returned to the Father. His disciples huddled in the Upper Room. The Holy Spirit entered the scene, a raging inferno. God empowered the church and unleashed His Spirit on the waiting planet. The disciples added to their numbers daily. They had a mission and they were determined to accomplish it.

Then? Persecution. Arrests. Imprisonment. Beatings. Martyrdom.

I’m sure there was a discussion. Band together. Remain huddled. Unite for strength. But the leader, Jesus Christ, chose a different way.

Divide. Like seeds from a milkweed pod.

And here we all are. Stalks springing up from that parting, far from the original seed but moved by the same wind.

This is what’s happening now, too. In our time. God continues His plan.

Unite us around Jesus. Set us ablaze. Send us out from one another. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. And this way, the body grows. And this way, the seed is carried on the wind. And this way – two over the mountains, two through the valley, two on the open path to divert the enemy – the quest is carried on.

The parting feels like a death. Always.

The dividing feels like the worst possible plan.

What feels safe is not what will save us.

We always travel in the dark.

Sometimes we cross paths in the forest. A clearing appears and we share a meal, a song, a tale, and a prayer. We part again.

The wind unites us, though. The wind that carries us, the wind that whispers to us, the wind that moves the trees above us singing us to sleep when we stop for rest. He travels with us through this wind and reminds us that safety and unity rest with Him

Not in the huddle – Not in a place – Not in numbers – Not in staying home in the Shire, in comfort, at ease.

No, unity and safety are found outside the camp with Him – in caves, on Patmos, on the road to Damascus, on the road to Emmaus, on the beach, in a boat in a storm, in storefronts, in jungles, in abandoned movie theaters, cathedrals, living rooms, prison cells, and homeless shelters.

As we journey, do you hear Him call out instructions? You two, enter the business world. You two, take to sports. You two, care for children. You two, preach the word. You two, write blogs. You two, enter cancer wards. You two, take to the streets.

Don’t be afraid of the parting. Respect each others’ assignments. Brave the separation. You know the stories. He’s had us tell them since we first gathered around fires.

We always find one another at the end – when the quest is accomplished, the journey complete, when Jesus welcomes us home.

Is your small group or faith community facing adversity? Check out my talk on Thriving in Troubled Times – Lessons We Learn at the End of a Spear. Effective strategies David employed on his run from Saul. Praying for you all this week. Endure.

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    The Conversation

  1. You’re so right, Lori – sometimes we have to get outside our comfort zone – break away from the pack – to get to the specific task God has for us. It can be scary. But oh-so satisfying when we realize it is EXACTLY where we are suppose to be!

  2. Judith Robl says:

    Lori, I love the way you think and write and would probably love the way you speak, were I ever able to be there in person.

    Spread the fire, sister! Keep spreading the fire!