In her book Born to Wander, Michelle Van Loom said, “Pilgrimage is always a step-by-step decision to follow Him. Those steps may look like repentance as we turn toward Him from a place we’ve wandered after choosing to rebel against God. They may look like obedience, as we continue to track His steps as we face the challenge of the narrow road. They may look like fellowship, as we commune with Him on the journey. But they will always look like death.”
Some things had to die.
He had to let go of his role as pastor at Putnum Hill, and in the process he lost a lot of relationships. He came face-to-face with his own struggles with materialism and ways he had let culture dictate his spending and generosity. His idea of what church looked like shifted because of what he learned in Italy. And I think he realized those ideas still had a long way to go.
At least, I hope he realized that. He had some great thoughts, great plans that he and Maggie developed and shared with the church. It’s awesome that he had dreams of what church could be.
But, I had to wonder, did he learn enough to help him keep walking a journey of healing and wholeness? To prevent crashing and burning again? I’ll be honest, I was fascinated by Chase’s journey in this book, but it felt like his ideas in the end had more to do with adding or changing activities. I wasn’t certain that it addressed a heart change needed. Did I miss it? Feel free to set me straight.
I know, I know, analyzing the heart of a fictional character can only go so far. What did you think about the changes and transformation Chase went through?
In this final section we learn more about St. Francis’ views of poverty and the way he embraced the poor and a life of simplicity for himself. I loved this quote from Brother Thomas (goodness, that man had a lot of wisdom): “If your heart’s crammed tight with material things and a thirst for wealth, there’s no space left for God. Francis wanted a void in his life that could only be filled with Jesus.”
Wow, that quote challenged me. I like to think that living the nomadic life of an overseas worker has freed me from a dependence on material possessions. I’m not so sure though. Sometimes the constant losses—due to many moves, limited suitcase space, flooding and pests—have created a scarcity mentality. I want to hold even tighter, make up for those sacrifices, fill in all the gaps.
I also think that Brother Thomas wasn’t just talking about possessions. We can fill in the gaps in our hearts with all sorts of things, really good things even like relationships and food and money, but those push out our need for Jesus. I’m pausing with this quote to really look at my heart and pay attention. Am I cramming so much in that I don’t have room left for God?
I’d love to know what you think! Did the book end the way you imagined it would? Have you taken away any lessons from St. Francis or the friars we met along with Chase?
I’m so glad we made this journey together through Chasing Francis!
We are so excited to 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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