Well, today Janet and I head out for a visit to the British Isles – home of one of the greatest empires in the history of the world. We just landed in New York and then, about 5 hours from now, we will be off to London. On Wednesday morning, we head to Southampton for a cruise that includes France, Scotland, Wales, various islands and finally, Ireland. What’s interesting is that the last time either one of us was in London was in 1970 – 41 years ago. And while we knew one another – as you might recall, we grew up in the same neighborhood and went to church together – it was coincidence that we happened to be in Europe at the same time, and we never met up while we were there.
In 1970, after landing in London, Janet spent most of her time in Italy; and also visited Switzerland – flying home out of Paris. Oddly, I also landed in London, spent most of my time in southern Germany, but also visited Switzerland and Austria; and flew home out of Paris as well. So this trip is special for us because we get to do it together this time.
The last several years we have tried to expand our travel to include different parts of the world. When the kids were younger, and home, we took vacations to places like Florida or California, but we have discovered cruises and now we have seen The Caribbean, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest; Greece and the Mediterranean; the American northeast and eastern Canada; and now the British Isles. While we will see places that each of us has been before, such as London and Paris, we will also get to see parts of countries that Janet’s ancestors are from.
So this past week-end, we were busy with the last minute plans. We did have one potential problem this morning – we had to stop by the doctor’s office so Janet could have the pins removed from her broken finger. She was a little apprehensive, but it went easier than either of us thought it would. And then she had a session with the occupational therapist so she will know the exercises to do while we are away. This will reduce the chances of her needing additional surgery, but the surgeon thinks the chances are about 70% that Janet will need another procedure this fall to finish the repair to her hand. After the appointment, Pat, our dear friend, (see Pat Rocks) took us from the doctor directly to the airport.
I have thought about so many things to write about today, and throughout the trip. But all I can think about right now is the logistics of writing while we are gone. We will have limited access to the internet, but in all honesty, I want to write as much as possible. What I am trying to say is that those of you who already knew about this trip have encouraged me to write 5 posts per week, as I do now. And I have received numerous emails letting me know that I have set a high expectation for the delivery of posts. But the truth is that I want to prepare you that I may not be as diligent as I have been; based on whether I can get access to post stuff from the ship. And, as you can tell from the early hour of this post, I am really going to change the timing of when things get up on the internet.
But for now, I am thinking about how Paul must have felt when he went on his journeys throughout the known world – and I was struck by the vastness of the Roman Empire – the other great Empire of the ages. Rome boasted about 120 million people in the 1st century; 60 million of them slaves. So it was important that the Roman citizens made sure that they kept the slaves in line – otherwise there could be an uprising. And Paul, during his missionary travels, planted churches throughout what is now modern day Turkey, and the rest of the Roman Empire. Eventually he wrote to the Romans themselves in the Bible book by that name. He also suffered in jail; writing a series of books called the Prison Epistles, including Philemon, one of my favorite books of the New Testament. You can’t help but love to read about Paul’s travels and missionary journeys.
So I don’t know what the next two weeks will bring, but I hope that Janet and I will be blessed by the experience. And that God will provide me with topics to share with you. Today’s verse is from the Old Testament, Micah 5:4, “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.”
And while I don’ necessarily think that we are going to the “ends of the earth”, the verse resonated with me. Especially since it is an OT verse. Most of Paul’s journeys were documented in the NT, but it is clear that God was concerned that all His people would be safe wherever they were in the world – He is that great. So my encouragement is that you will continue to spread the Good News, wherever you are. And my prayer is that God will continue to provide security for His people throughout the entire world. When we travel, whether it is to the town down the road, or across the oceans, we have additional opportunities to speak about God and His kingdom on earth. Let’s not waste those moments. Paul didn’t….