Tradition says in that 1577, Sir Francis Drake, an English sea captain, wrote this amazing prayer as he departed England to attempt the circumnavigation of the world:
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
Drake was suggesting that too often we dream too little, live too safely, and travel too close to the shore. In so doing, we miss the glorious stars seen only when sailing deep seas. Recently, Carol and I attended the annual Urban Ministry Summit in Indianapolis. This event was hosted by Jay Height (coordinator of compassionate ministries for USA/Canada), Shepherd Community Church, Mark Bane (director of evangelism and new church development), and the USA/Canada Regional Office. Approximately 75 men and women gathered there who are either engaged in ministry in the urban core or are called to do so.
We were moved to tears as we listened to heroes tell their stories. We have many urban centers of impact:
Pete in Albuquerque.
Lauren in Chicago.
Jenee and Femi in Kansas City.
Jacob in Akron.
Adam in Anchorage.
Paul in Little Rock.
Austin and Irene in Peoria.
Marlene in Owosso.
Kyle in St. Louis.
Jay and Allen in Indianapolis.
They told of many challenges. Often the hurting people with whom they work and in whom they see great progress are drawn back to their old ways. Often these important urban core ministries do not having enough financial support or physical strength to continue.
However, they also told us of pressing on in their weakest moments and discovering that God is always faithful. The brightest stars often shine in the darkest times. They have discovered that the challenges of reaching out are worth the effort, and God seems incredibly close in their weakest moments.