Orange Barrels, 5-3-13

May 18, 2016 | by: Father Chuck Owens | 0 comments

Tags: Padre's Ponderings

padre164While traveling to and from Charleston via Beaufort yesterday, I had ample opportunity to again observe the progress being made on widening Highway 17 from two to four lanes. The project has been a major undertaking to say the least; and what with the numerous bridges that had to be built, the millions of yards of low country muck that had to be excavated and replaced with layers of clay and various sub-surfacing materials, the utilities that had to be relocated and/or constructed from scratch, it has spanned years and consumed untold hours and dollars . . . and it is still far from completion.

Strangely, I can't remember when the miles of orange barrels first appeared along Highway 17; but I do know that they are not now where they once were . . . the Ace Basin has been successfully forged and the action is now farther north - a sure sign, not of completion but of progress on this particular phase of the infrastructure that supports and sustains our life together. In time the barrels now directing us to take new and somewhat unfamiliar pathways to long revered destinations will be moved elsewhere, speed limits will be raised, and today's change-caused inconvenience will become tomorrow's applauded avenue.

Some might say that "orange barrels" have hallmarked our years together, that we've continually been under construction - they would be correct . . . and I believe that's as it should be. When I was seven, I was physically and spiritually equipped for that age; but what was sufficient to launch me into the future in 1950 would hardly be adequate to sustain me as I enter my seventies. The same could be said, and indeed must be said, for each of us and for our individual and congregational responses to the Great Commission. A bit of poetry by James Russell Lowell comes to mind.

By the light of burning martyrs
Jesus' bleeding feet I track,
Toiling up new Calvaries ever
With the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still and onward
Who would keep abreast of truth.

My trip to Charleston yesterday might be likened to one of the early steps in the extensive planning process that surely took place behind the scenes before the first orange barrel was deployed along Highway 17. The Lord is building a network of leaders far and wide who are grasping the potential inherent in the vision He has given us for using technology to reach the vast and growing number of "baby boomer" believers who have chosen for various reasons to walk away from their religious heritage. It's too soon to speculate on the final design, much less the time table . . . by faith it's enough to know that God is at work and at some point we'll be moving the "orange barrels" a little farther along the roadway He's laying out before us - praise God!

In HIs Power and for His Glory,


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