More years ago than I care to count ... or admit ... I led canoe trips down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway for the youth of the churches I served. Most of the trips were two weeks long and spanned over one hundred miles. A couple of the trips were one week in length and traveled around thirty miles. The distance was much less because we only paddled and camped on the lakes.
Naturally, a lot of preparation goes into trips such as these. Recruiting volunteer leaders, prepping the tents, canoes, paddles, life jackets, stoves, cook kits, tarps, poles, ropes and stakes, axes, saws, and other gear takes weeks. As does shopping for and preparing the food. In addition, the youth and adult leaders all have to pack their own clothing and personal gear in waterproof bags.
When I sent out the packing lists, I included the following instructions: "No electronic devices or watches." First of all, there was no electricity in the North Maine Woods, so the devices would be useless. There was not a cell tower anywhere near that area! Besides that, I wanted the youth to focus upon one another and the beauty of Creation. I included watches on the prohibited list because the youth did not need to know what time it was.
We got up after the sun came up. We ate meals when they were ready. On travel days, we left the campsite after the canoes were loaded and the campsite was cleaner than we found it. When we paddled, I answered the inevitable question, "How much farther?" with my standard answer, "Just around the next bend." We got there when we got there, and we travelled at a pace that kept the whole group safe. We went to bed when we were done for the day. There was no need for the youth to check their watches. Plus, it was one less thing to keep track of. It was hard for the youth at first, but they quickly learned that they did not need that information.
Sometimes we can get caught up in focusing upon things that do not matter. We fritter and waste our time wondering and worrying rather than enjoying the experience. We let our anxiety over what is next take away from what we are doing in that moment.
The disciples were not that different from the people of today. They always want to know about what was next. This week in worship, we will explore a passage in which they were asking Jesus, "Is it time?" Jesus' response was that they did not need to know that information. They only needed to know that the time would come, and that he would supply them with the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:6-14)
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