May/June 2010 - Vol. 40

Deeper Still
[Spanish version: Más profundo aún]
by Miguel Vargas

This is a time of very special grace for you. Move forward, 
go through the door that lies open before you.
                                                                     - International Coordinators Meeting, London, 2004

This past January I attended  a Gap retreat in Monterrey, Mexico and around me were brothers and sisters from different communities and outreaches in Mexico, Guatemala, the United States, Costa Rica and Brazil. And I thought for a moment, ďWhat a blessing to live and experience the same kinds of things that my parents had experienced when they entered the bulwark of the Sword of the Spirit.Ē But the Lord said to me: ďNo, you are not going to live the same things that your parents lived, you will go forward and you will go to places where they have not gone, and you will see things they have not seen.Ē Then I remembered a song we often sing: ďTake us higher up, draw us deeper still,Ē and I understood that the Lord is listening to our prayer and has decided to take us beyond the place where he took our fathers in community.

At the Sword of the Spirit International Coordinators Meeting in 2008, where I was honored to serve as a translator, the Lord spoke about an open door of new mission opportunities, new grace, and new resources. And not only did the Lord speak about an open door, but he invited us very clearly as a community of communities to move forward, to go through the door.

Invitation to go deeper still
Many of our communities and outreaches have seen new signs and expressions of how this word is being fulfilled. I think this prophetic word has a particular application for those of us who have been born in community or who have joined an already formed community and who have benefitted from the effort of those who went before us. The Lord is inviting us to go deeper still, to move beyond what our fathers have already conquered when they established communities around the world.

This brings to my mind the image of the European explorers, back in the 15th century, who dared to cross the ocean to discover new lands. Their effort was a key contribution in advancing the history of human kind. They not only dreamed about what kinds of lands and peoples could be discovered  on the other side of the ocean, they also built the necessary ships, and they set out on journeys that no one they knew of had done before. But many of the first explorers, who established beachheads along newly discovered coastlands, were not able to venture into the interior of the continents they had discovered. That job awaited those who came after them, who followed in their steps, and who consequently discovered new lands and peoples beyond the coasts. 

I think there is something similar going on in our communities today. A whole generation of brave men and women decided to conquer a new land, not knowing what they would find and going on paths no one had walked before. They are our pioneers, our explorers and conquerors if you will. But, as the years go by we are the new generations, who are called to discover what lies beyond the coasts of this new land, and we are the ones who are called to conquer the land that the Lord gave to our fathers. Ours is the call the Lord gave to Israel in Deuteronomy 1:8: Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them and to their children after them.

You are the ones, you who read these lines, who are called to deepen and move forward the work the Lord has given the Sword of the Spirit.

Conquering new lands for the Lord
It has been forty years since the first covenant community was founded, and in these forty years the effort of our founders has focused on shaping a bulwark according to the directions of the Lord. The foundations have been put in place and the structures have been organized. Our mission is to keep those foundations and those structures, and to conquer new lands for the Lord.

The times of building are over, the times of conquering approach. We will, I think be amazed by what the Lord has prepared for us. We will see new ways of mission, new opportunities of evangelization, new resources for the extension of Godís kingdom that we had never imagined. The Lord has set before us an open door. Let us go through it! Let us break with our human plans and let us be opened to Godís. Things that seem too bold or too daring or too radical are precisely the open doors that the Lord is inviting us to go through.

In my personal experience, in the last three years there have been, in the communities I have lived in, new ways of mission, opportunities to develop new programs, and new fields in which to evangelize. Some of these opportunities have been seized, some havenít. And those that we have seized, have truly been open doors of resources, gifts and new brothers and sisters. The Lord is fulfilling his promise, he is been faithful to his word, but we must do our part and answer; we must go through the door.

Courage to respond
Courage is needed to respond to the Lordís invitation. It isnít easy to go through a door when you cannot see what is on the other side. It isnít easy to go deeper still, into the land. But who said it would be? Our founders and those who came before us were brave men and women who dared to conquer for the Lordís sake something completely unknown. Itís now our turn. What will be our answer?

[Miguel Vargas is an underway member of the Jesed Community in Monterrey, Mexico. He has been actively involved in youth ministry and is currently an affiliate of the Servants of the Word living in Monterrey, Mexico. He majored in classical philology and graduated from the University of Costa Rica in December 2008.]

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