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My future intersects my past in a scene out of Apocalypto

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Mel Gibson’s new movie “Apocalypto” is set in the steamy green Mayan jungle, as exotic a setting as you’ll find anywhere in the world. This morning we wake up in the same jungle with parrots chattering in the trees a few miles away from the ruins where the movie was shot. Sometimes, my life seem…
By Seth Barnes

Mel Gibson’s new movie “Apocalypto” is set in the steamy green Mayan jungle, as exotic a setting as you’ll find anywhere in the world. This morning we wake up in the same jungle with parrots chattering in the trees a few miles away from the ruins where the movie was shot.

Sometimes, my life seems surreal. Yesterday the 50 World Racers, Gary, Andrew, Steve, Bob, and I were in a church in a village in the mountains outside Palenque. It’s Zapatista guerrilla territory – a fact boldly proclaimed by a large sign posted on the road.

We packed into a little building and the concrete block walls began to pulsate with the sound of God’s praises being sung in Spanish, English, and Chol (the Indian language spoken natively).

And in the middle of it all, the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about the pilgrimage of a young man to find his place in the world.

It was a pilgrimage that began 27 years ago in Virginia as the young man, having just graduated from college, drove a yellow Vega to Honduras. The route took him through Palenque, and though it was just a stop along the way, something in his spirit tweaked and the thought came, “you’ll be back – there’s something here for you.”

And as these thoughts were rushing through my head, the confluence of events that brought me back to that place, in the company of my spiritual mentor, my eldest child, my covenant brothers, and the members of this church that Institute students established, the fruit of our ministry began to overwhelm me.

He was showing me that though he’d begun to awaken me 27 years ago, enabling me to stand in for the poor and oppressed around the world, the greatest fruit is yet to come. It will come in the form of transformed lives like those packing the church yesterday.

The music stopped and they handed me the microphone and, as best I could, sometimes choking back tears of gratitude, I told the story.

Our lives are a journey, but mostly we live them focused on the twists, turns, and ruts along the way. Yesterday, I got to see the bigger picture of my life. 27 years ago, I didn’t understand discipleship; I was hard-headed and insensitive, but the Lord had me on a sacred journey, a journey that, for a moment in time, I saw more clearly.

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