Thursday, July 11, 2013

Still Sick . . . Nothing Remarkable

Still sick, -in the Bay of Biscay - Lat. 47 N. Long. 3 W.
–William Carey, Journal entry for June 15, 1793.

I heard these words in the Angus Library at Regent's Park College, where the original manuscripts of many of Carey's letters and journals are housed. This particular entry resonated with me at that moment not the least because I was still experiencing the drag of Jet Lag and a migraine, not the best disposition for a walking tour!

Upon further reflection, though, I think this is a significant journal entry in understanding the nature of the missionary task. Carey kept the journal in order to keep his supporters back home informed of his work during his trip to India.

In the entry for June 14, Carey writes, "Sick as were all my family and incapable of much reflection." The next day, the effect lingers, "Still sick," followed by the latitude and longitude. All he records is where he's at and how he feels. The entry itself is sparse and unglamorous.

No, "Though my physical body is sick of the sea, my soul sails on the waves of supernal bliss as I sojourn to the mission field on the celestial wings of angelic angels . . ."

Just, "Still sick."

A few days later, an entry reads, "Nothing remarkable."

The missionary must be fueled by more than the "thrill" of the chase when all he or she feels is the "chill" of illness and unremarkable days in transit.

The glories of the Gospel oftentimes (perhaps most of the time) must be proclaimed in the throes of weakness and within the steady rhythms of the unremarkable.

God grant us perseverance in the minutiae of the missionary task.

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I also occasionally post annotations that I make as I read Cormac McCarthy at "Reading Cormac McCarthy."

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