Monday, November 13, 2006

Back to the Village

Ebede is a young, unmarried Cameroonian who works in the Mission Office as my administrative assistant. Recently, I gave him some time off and I asked him how he would spend his time.

“I’m going to my village!” he said excitedly.

I’ve heard this before. In Cameroon, returning to one’s village is a common “vacation” destination. In truth, it’s not simply a physical voyage; it is a spiritual and emotional reminder of the things in life that are most important.

When Ebede returns to his village, he is able to visit his aging father, drink palm wine with the village elders, and eat traditional foods. It is a place of peace and rest. And I am confident that when Ebede returns to the office, he will have a renewed spirit.

I encounter this phenomenon often in Cameroon, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it for myself. I’ve promised to accompany Ebede on a trip to the village someday.

But I have noticed it in the Bible, too. For instance, the first response of some of Jesus’ disciples to the news of the resurrection was to “go to the village”! Take note of Luke 24:13 which reports that two of them were “going to a village called Emmaus.” Apparently, these two decided that they must return home, where they could reorient their lives to the confusion they felt inside.

Of course, we know what happened to them on the way. They met a stranger who shared the voyage with them. And sure enough, when they reached the village, they found what they were looking for.

As they shared traditional food and drink with the stranger, their eyes were opened to the presence of Jesus, alive in their midst. When they had their fill of this life-giving meal, they left the village and returned to the bustling, seething city where they gave a testimony to their new-found faith.

Where is your village, your upper room, your mountaintop? Is it time to make a trip back there?