Living by the Spirit that is Truth is not comfortable. We can feel crammed into corners, we have to give up control, we have to trust others. Sometimes we are exhausted but still have to keep pushing ourselves. Our bodies can hurt, but we still have to carry heavy loads and keep moving onward. When we’re dedicated to God’s Truth-seeking missions, however, it’s all worth it.
The service trip that my students took to Iowa during Holy Week ended on Good Friday. The meaning of the day hummed in the background of our spirited movement.
Day Five: Crossing Over
We have to say goodbye and head down the road. First, some of the people who helped us have an incredible experience come to say goodbye and see us off.
Just like it was for Jesus on his way to the cross, our journey back to Chicago is full of surprise stops. Before we get too far away from Gunder, we get to see one more farm.
Farmer Amanda raises chickens, ducks and turkeys and sells the eggs and meat. We are surprised to learn that some of the eggs we ate earlier in the week were actually duck eggs. And, we enjoy learning how it works to farm poultry and playing with the animals. Plus, she had a sheep on her farm, so it was fun to get to meet him too! To me, it seemed like the perfect farm to visit to kick-off Easter weekend.
We say more goodbyes and thank you’s and we continue on down the road. After a while, we arrive at the Field of Dreams near Dyersville for a visit and a little baseball.
Some of the students are part of our school’s top-rated baseball team, so it was a special thrill for them to see the site.
In the car we pray the stations of the cross together. We had intended to stop and pray them but we would have arrived in Chicago too late. That’s one of things about seeking the Truth and following Jesus as we cross over boundaries: we must remain flexible and willing to make-do with the time and resources provided. The good news is that we can still experience God’s mystery everywhere we go!
We stop again in Dubuque and near Rockford to eat and take a break before we finally arrive back at the school around 6 p.m. It’s Good Friday. Like Jesus was when he went to the cross, we’re weary, tired and overwhelmed. We have experienced and learned a lot in a brief amount of time. We have tried to learn the Truth and relate over boundaries. Our reunions with our families are joyous, but our new service-trip family says goodbye to each other with new appreciation and awareness.
After Easter weekend and spring break are over and school is back in session, the students gather in my classroom for a final meeting. I show them this movie:
And, I ask them what they learned about the Truth during the trip. I hear:
People are good and people are people no matter where they are and what they do.
I love Iowa and I want to go back.
Even though people are different than us, they really care about us.
I also ask the students how the experience changed them and helped them grow. I hear:
I learned service is fun and it’s really nice to help people.
I learned how to communicate better with my family and other people, and the importance of good communication.
I learned to be more grateful for what I have.
I learned to keep an open mind about people and places that are different than what I know.
Indeed, when we enter into adventures with the Spirit we learn the importance of opening our minds. With open minds the Spirit shows us Truth, we get to cross boundaries and relate to people who are different then us, and we become changed.
Along the way, we cooperate with God without even realizing it and experience the reign of God come. Just by us being who we are, the Spirit of Truth does great work. We are blessed and renewed and the world and Church radiate with fire of God’s glory and goodness. You don’t have to take my word for it:
“The renewal of the Church is … achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers: by their very existence in the world, Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us.” –Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei
Indeed we are called and indeed we have responded. By the grace of God, through great adventures in the Spirit, awesome things happen. Amen, Amen, Alleluia and Thanks be God!