A hundred years ago the church was sending missionaries to places like Africa and China, to convert and introduce Christianity to those who did not know about it. There is a granite marker on the wall of St. Andrew's Church in Newcastle, Maine, commemorating one such missionary. Their intent and work was noble and the work they did was inspirational. Unfortunately, those who followed were more interested in making money than in the relationships that faith began.
Now, I find myself in an ironic place, as a missionary to Maine, the place that once sent them to other places. The tables have been turned, and this only serves to prove my belief that the only thing wider than God's mercy is God's sense of humor.
The memory of the past also causes me to reflect upon my work. If successful, or if and when the power of God's Holy Spirit reignites the people of Maine, then what would stop the follow up of the hordes of profiteers who will see this as an opportunity. But then, the power of God has always been greater than the sins of us mere mortals. For even in China where we unleashed a tidal wave of capitalism with the aftermath of missionaries, the church continues to grow. Despite our best efforts to undermine the working of God, or to capitalize on it, or to "improve" upon it, the power of divine love will continue to move, more constant than the wind or tide.
On a more twisted note, it is interesting to me that the Chamber of Commerce and State officials who are looking to market Maine and build up business have not latched onto this historical trend and to start to encourage the missionary movement to Maine.