Saturday, August 02, 2008

Reflections on Life as a Journey

Life is a journey. This is not news. Yet to apply it to the walk of faith seems to come as a surprise to each generation.

As we sat around our living room with the College and Career group looking at the Scriptures and trying to understand how they relate to our lives today, Julie spoke up. “I never realized it before. Our Christian life is a journey with God. That’s cool!”

I recalled the day many years earlier, when I had come to that understanding. It seemed to free me to grow. It meant that I did not need to have all the answers as a Christian, but I could discover them as I journeyed.

The journey has been identified with the faith pilgrimage throughout history. The classic example in our English culture has been John Bunyan’s allegory written from his prison cell, Pilgrim’s Progress.

This classic recounts the pilgrimage of Christian and his companions as they travel to the Celestial City. My assumption, perhaps from my evangelical background, was that the journey began when one embraced the faith. Now I think differently.

A new image of God has seized me as I have walked the Christian pathway. I now see God as an all-knowing yet all loving parent standing with arms outstretched, ready to embrace all who will come. His invitation extends to all humanity.

We are born with the desire within us to turn towards that embrace. That is the meaning of the words of wisdom in Ecclesiastes that speak of God placing eternity in our hearts. The journey begins when life begins, but it sometimes follows an incomprehensible route. There are occasions when this route seems heading far away from the loving embrace. Yet those times can prove to be the closest to the U-turn of a wandering soul.

We do not travel the journey alone. Many companions accompany us on our route. At times we choose them and other times they are messengers sent to encourage us on our way.

Wherever we are on our life journey when we choose to embrace the Faith we are gifted with a divine companion. The Spirit accompanies us continually for the rest of our journey. He is the source of continual comfort, hope and encouragement. Without His help we could never make it home to the loving embrace that awaits us.

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