Yesterday was our first day back from vacation.
As you probably already know Wes spent the break with his family and I went with my wife to Italy.
It was sort of our late anniversary gift/early graduation from med school (her) present/last vacation until she finishes residency.
It was amazing, inspiring, and exhausting.
So, for those of you that are interested I thought I would share a bit of my trip and close with a few reflections.
We began our grand tour of Italy in Rome.
Toured the Vatican.
Visited the Colosseum.
Saw more art than I can remember.
Ate the greatest gelato ever created by the hand of man.
Threw my coin into the Trevi Fountain.
And went to church on Christmas Eve with this guy.
Then it was off to Florence.
Where we saw the Duomo.
Crossed the Ponte Vecchio.
And witnessed the greatest sunset I’ve ever seen.
One more because it was so beautiful.
We ended the trip in Venice.
Where we crossed many a canal.
And watched one last beautiful Italian sunset.
As exhausting as it can be I love to travel. Especially internationally.
There’s everything to gain and nothing to lose. Well, except your credit card information (which unfortunately did happen), but that’s why God invented fraud protection.
If you have the chance to travel, do it. Whether it’s across the state, across the country, or across the planet it will forever change the way you look and act in the world.
And that’s a very good thing.
Especially if you’re a person of faith.
The world is much bigger and more diverse than we can even begin to comprehend. That’s why it’s so important to get out there and see it, experience it, taste it, and suck the marrow out of every moment that is given to you.
In finding the courage to journey to new lands you encounter people who look, talk, think, eat, speak, and worship in ways that are often radically different and yet curiously similar to your own. And in doing so you begin to realize that that diversity is not only something you need not fear; it is something to celebrate.
There is no beauty in the Christian faith if we allow the monolith of American evangelicalism to be the normative paradigm for Christianity, repeated in every corner of creation, adjusted only to the extent that the congregation can sing along with our latest worship songs.
The beauty of Christianity is found when people of every language, tongue, and tribe are allowed to bring their traditions to the table of faith and worship freely. When we try to force our cultural context onto the rest of the world we create nothing more than a cacophony of noise.
But if we can find the courage to allow the many members of the one body of faith to sing freely with their own voices we will discover a symphony more grand and beautiful than anything we could ever imagine.
So, this in this new year don’t fear that which is different from yourself. Seek it out. Emrace it. Love it. And then your world will never be the same again.
Grace and peace,