So, our heads are filled with visions of what we will see and tones of what we will hear. In 2 days we will wait for our boarding groups to be called and we’ll make our way down the jet bridge to our plane and find our seats. As we settle in for the first of two 10-hour flights, we will wonder about what directions our first exposure to Africa will take. We’ve prepared well and we know that the things we will experience will range from sobering to exhilarating. We pray for balance.
Back in Abilene, on the campus of Abilene Christian University, one of the favorite fitness hotspots is the Lunsford Trail. A two-mile ribbon of pavement wrapped around the home of the ACU Wildcats, the loop is known for the special messages and symbolism portrayed on inset stones and on monuments of various stature.
At the head of the trail, Mile Marker 0, a large stone pillar is set to the side and bordered by shrubbery. It’s a favorite spot of mine because of the scripture etched in that stone.
In our studies of conflict and peaceful resolution, we rely on concepts of men to determine our best practices. One of the cornerstones of our teaching is the Dual Concern Model. From it we derive some sense of the ways that each of us deals with conflict. I’ll save you the long lectures and more tedious explanations. But basically, the “dual concerns” are that of self concern and concern for others. Most theorists also equate self concern with a sense of justice and concern for others with a predisposition toward mercy. And while much can be said for either the pursuit of justice or the pursuit of mercy, those who seek lasting peace have learned that it’s the balance of justice and mercy that brings us peace.
In keeping with the teachings from the Old Testament book of Micah, we see that God provides what is good. And for us to claim what is good, He asks us to act justly AND love mercy — to balance those two forces. That balance, plus a humble spirit, will bring us God’s good — His perfect peace.
As an overarching prayer, then, we ask for that balance and that humility as we meet and serve the good people of Rwanda and Kenya. “He has shown us, O mortals, what is good.”
God, bless Robyn and Malcolm and Dan and Allison and Aaron and Betty and Joey with peace that comes from acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with You. Amen