Written by Steven Liechty
Dedicated to Merom Conference Center, Indiana-Kentucky Conference
"On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight…and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left." - Acts 20:7, 11
I remember watching the sun come up over the hills of southern Indiana on the last morning of church camp. I had not slept. After the requisite Friday night dance, my roommates and I sat up listening to the Violent Femmes and talking as fast as we could about all of the things that were most important to us. It was one of those epic nights when the breathless excitement of youth (and the memory of a slow dance with your camp crush) brings dawn before you realize the stars are out.
The same manic energy fuels Paul's all-nighter in Troas. He is filled with a sense of urgency and import. The time is short, and the ground to cover is great. So Paul talks. And talks. He talks for so long that one church member dozes off and falls out the window. But no sooner does Paul find the man's pulse, than he picks up where he left off.
The Church is called to such conversations, conversations so thrilling and significant we hardly need to sleep. Conversations that change the world. Conversations about how to feed every hungry child in town. Conversations about the movement that will end capital punishment.
Conversations about ______________________. Fill in the blank. You'll know you're on the right track when you suddenly have the sleep-defying energy you found at summer camp.
Holy Spirit, give me oil for my lamp. Keep me burning till the break of day.
Vince Amlin is Associate Minister at the United Church of Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida.