Anyone else feeling like they got emotional whiplash from this section?
Chase Falson’s journey in chapters 7-9 of Chasing Francis is jam-packed with hills and valleys. Honestly, I’m not sure how his heart could stand it. A few new characters arrive as he meets Carla and Liam Cudder while exploring in Rome, both impacting his life in unique ways. Then comes Sister Irene and her brother’s intense and heartbreaking story of experiencing the genocide in Rwanda. Maggie is not a new character, but she shows up in Italy with her energy and opinions and loyal care for Chase.
One thing that struck me through this whole section is the power of art and story. When I stand before a beautiful painting, I admire the skill of the artist. I’m captured by the elements of the piece, but it moves me. I’m moved to action, to praise, to wonder. What is the story behind this? What was going on in the heart and mind of the artist? What part of my story resonates deeply with it?
The same can be said of majestic music or a really, really good book. Even if it is simply to acknowledge the skill involved, I am moved to respond and this becomes part of my story.
When Dr. Emmanuel Mukamana took the stage in chapter 8 to tell his story, I thought of a building in the red-light district of Cambodia’s capital. It was gutted and crumbling, a physical symbol to me of the history and even spiritual state of this country still marked by its own genocide. But as my teammate and I passed this building on our weekly prayer walk through the area, I was often reminded of how God brings beauty from the ashes. That’s what my heart longed for.
Out of the horrors of Dr. Mukamana’s story came forgiveness and restoration. His story had power to stir up the hearts of those who heard it, to point to the forgiveness and healing found in God. Chase got to experience some of this up close as he interacted with the attendees at the conference, learned from Sister Irene and participated in the commissioning at the close of the conference.
What struck you from these chapters about the power of art and beauty and story?
I’m glad that we got to go along with Chase and Carla to hear the presentation by Liam Cudder, and then for their dinner conversation afterward. I loved this quote from Cudder:
“We did not recognize that the redeemed imagination was capable of producing works of beauty that revealed Glory”.
Just think of all the things that we have because of the power of imagination! Inventions, books, music, art, pioneers and adventurers, breakthroughs, and so much more.
I loved pretending when I was a kid. My siblings and I could spend hours acting out stories of prairie settlers or Olympic champions, using jump ropes to mark off roads or a large mound of dirt as a mountain.
As we get older we don’t live in a make-believe world, but I wonder if it takes a fair amount of imagination in our role as overseas workers.
We dream up projects and plans where none exist. We work toward goals that seem impossible, figuring out ways to get past the obstacles that crop up. We work to bring beauty from the ashes of places marked by atheism or corruption, fighting for Glory in the places He is not yet known.
What does the role of imagination play in your life?
What did you think of this section? If you were Chase, how would you have handled all the experiences, wisdom and emotions thrown at you?
We will finish up Chasing Francis next week!
January 28: Chapters 10-12, Epilogue
What’s Coming up:
In February we’ll be reading Rachel Pieh Jones’ book Stronger than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa! Grab your copy today. Here’s the reading schedule:
Feb 4 – Prologue – chapter 5
Feb 11 – chapter 6 – chapter 9
Feb 18 – chapter 10 – chapter 13
Feb 25 – chapter 14 – epilogue
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