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Lamplighter - Fr. Aran

posted Feb 25, 2016, 12:33 PM by St. Thomas Church   [ updated Mar 27, 2019, 7:18 AM ]

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

On Saturday, March 16, we had the first Team Gathering of our Appalachia 2019 “Love Journey” (aka Mission Trip).  There are 23 of us heading to Jonesville, VA this July 6-14 to serve alongside Appalachia Service Project.  You can find out a lot more about our trek at

Please do keep all 23 of us in prayer: Ben, Avery, Katie, Meagan, Caroline, Cathy, Stephen, Margaret, Mia, Nick, Ruby, Cece, Breanna, Lorraine, Martin, Meghan, Paige, Adam, Emily, Lisa, Aran, Tony, and Zach.

However, amidst all the times of prayer, and team building, and snacks, and learning, and activity, something profound happened.  One of our team members gave her square away.

You’re probably wondering what in the WORLD that means… allow me to explain.

We did an activity called Broken Squares.  The challenge is for a 5-person group, sitting in a circle, to make 5 equally sized squares, one in front of each person, all without any verbal communication or gestures… all within a 15-minute time limit.

Each of the 5 people are given an envelope with several smaller pieces they can use to create a square.  No one may reach out and TAKE pieces from another person.  But anyone is able to GIVE pieces to another person.

There is only 1 solution to the challenge.  And the only way it’s possible is for pieces to be exchanged.  As in, no one is given everything they need to finish a square.  Everyone must rely on others in the circle.

One group was stuck.  And stuck bad.  3 of the 5 had a completed square in front of them. But despite having multiple pieces in front of them, the other 2 weren’t able to make squares.  It was impossible.  They literally didn’t have what they needed.  As the other 3 looked on, the 2 people left were getting more and more frustrated (silently) as they realized they weren’t going to make this work.

And then, for one of the other 3 in that group, something clicked.  She just, got it.  The challenge wasn’t for each individual to make a square.  The challenge was for THE WHOLE GROUP to make 5 squares.  Even though she was “finished”, she recognized that, because others on her team weren’t, she wasn’t either.

And so, she picked up the pieces of her square, and handed them out to others.  She gave of herself in order to help others.  She stepped HARD into The Way of Jesus.  And go figure, it brought blessing. Because within a few moments, others were handing out pieces to one another and in less than 60 seconds, they had 5 equally sized squares, one in front of each person.

I pray that each of us can learn to give of ourselves, to put aside personal gain, to look around and see the needs of others, to reject the “_______ First” poison, and step HARD into The Way of Jesus.