“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door,” says Bilbo in Lord of the Rings. Because when our feet cross the threshold of our home, we just don’t know who we will meet or what we’ll encounter. It is very much the case for all who engage in mission in a globalised world. It may or may not be dangerous, but it is undoubtedly exciting, challenging and somewhat terrifying whenever we cross boundaries of any kind. This call to step out and adventure is as appropriate to us, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, as it was for Frodo and the other hobbits who began the journey in Tolkien’s Middle Earth. When we step outside our doors, our homes and our churches we encounter people of different backgrounds, perspectives, subcultures and cultures; those who speak different languages and practice different customs; and people of different worldviews and ideologies. Yet God has called us to cross these boundaries just as he called the early church.
Jesus declared to his disciples as he was about to leave them to go to his Father, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In referring to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, Jesus is not merely talking about geographical boundaries that are to be crossed in taking the gospel outward in ever-increasing circles. Rather, he is speaking of the cultural, religious, linguistic, worldview and ideological barriers etc., that need to be crossed in adventuring with God in the spread of the gospel. In doing so, Jesus promised that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. What was promised to them is also a promise to us as we bear witness to the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. So, let us take heart and dare to adventure with God out there in the world. Like the hobbits in Tolkien’s story of Middle Earth, we don’t know what will come our way, but we do know that the One who called us will never leave us or forsake us.