“Disturb us, Lord...” Sir Francis Drake
Since I started ministry in NYC in 1979, I have had scores of young interns. We have nurtured and cared for these young leaders, approximately 40 or so, many of whom have launched or gone on to serve in phenomenal ministries, ranging from works of mercy in Africa, to creating homeless ministries, to leading churches, and more.
One of our early interns was Brennan Gaertner, who I met when he played on the National Championship football team at Penn State, where I spoke at that game’s chapel. Our friendship ensued, which led him to join us in NYC as an intern. Brennan recalled that our conversation about serving the poor had “disturbed” him out of his complacency, so he came to NYC to press the boundaries of his calling to serve those in need. Now 25 years later as a pastor with 7 children in Pennsylvania, his 21-year-old son Reed has become a focus of my pastoral fathering, as he journeys through college and seeks next steps. Reed is now taking the summer to serve refugee children in Lebanon, along with a mighty undertaking to learn Arabic (which he studies at his Christian college), in order to care for those suffering from war and poverty. Before he left, we prayed together and I asked him what was the motivating factor in wanting to go to Mideast where overt Christians are in danger of losing their lives. His response was generationally passed from father to son. He told me he had been so disappointed and “disturbed” by the lack of interest for those suffering in the Middle East. He sounded so much like his father, my intern so many years ago.
The following poem, written by Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century, expresses the desire to trust the Lord in unknown and difficult places--places like Lebanon or when I arrived in the foreign land of Times Square nearly 40 years ago. Leaving the bucolic comfort of Iowa, and the serenity of the monastic community which nurtured me, was the great “disturbing” of my life. Trusting in the Lord has been the greatest calling and gift for me. I may not have circumnavigated the globe like Drake, but those of you who partner with me have had a global influence.
Disturb us, Lord, when 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 In strength, courage, hope, and love.
We ask this in the name of our captain who is Jesus Christ
Thank you all for caring enough to continue your prayerful and loving friendship and support all these years. We still depend upon your generosity, and the Lord’s grace, and are deeply thankful.
Yours in Christ,