The road back into my sisters’ resort in Canada from the Highway is about 5 miles long. I’ve driven on it going in or going out countless times. However, last Summer while visiting I started walking from her resort about halfway down that road and then turning around and heading back.
Before doing this walking, I might have said I knew that stretch of road pretty darn well. During my walks, however, I came to know it in a more intimate way and with a better appreciation of its beauty and its challenge.
As I was about this exercise, I began to relate it to our lives in this world. The last 10th of a mile into Erin’s place is about a 10thof a mile of 6% grade hill a good 4 -6 stories high. As I would leave the property, that would be my start of the walk; up that hill. While the road goes up and down as it winds it’s way back into the woods, I never really appreciated how “up and down”it is. It was a great road for exercise!
The trees and plants along the way go by pretty quickly when you drive. But walking along the road I was taken aback at just how beautiful the way really is. The beauty of the flowers blooming along the road. The majesty of the large pine trees reaching up into the sky on both sides of the road - creating a little coniferous canyon that you walk along. And then, quite a few times, because I was not loudly driving by but rather quietly walking I would startle a deer or two....or three....or more! Once it was a big Buck – once some foxes, and once a hedgehog.
Now this is not a “slow down and smell the roses” message. It is however an invitation to us, as it was a discovery for me, to not so determinedly move through my day that I miss the presence of the divine all around me in my meetings through the day, in and through my relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. Do we see the presence of Christ in our co-workers on the job? Do we appreciate the blessing of family and take the time to talk and play together or is everyone in their own place in the house and/or absorbed into their own screen? Do we make the time and space to connect with God and allow God to speak and awaken us to the possibilities of the day or moment?
We are so fortunate to live in a world with awesome vistas of grandeur to small delicate beauty. Make sure you pause often and be a bit overwhelmed by the majesty and beauty of this beautiful place in the world we live.
And walk! To tell you the truth it wasn’t always easy to get up the gumption to start down the road. (especially looking up the big hill to begin the journey). But even that became a metaphor for me about asking God for strength and presence as I begin taking on an obstacle or overcoming an intimidating situation. And now, I rather look forward to “the walk” each day because I’m beginning to realize that I’ll always discover Christ astride with me to help me see the world and people more through the eyes of grace.
As we move through the day at this more “Christ-tempered” gate, we will more often be delighted and surprised by the special experiences and moments that a less aware or more driven pace might scatter. Much like the deer, or the buck, or the foxes, or the hedgehog were for me on my daily hikes.
As our new program/school year has begun, I invite us all to be intentional in our making room for God and God’s presence through each day. Who knows what we’ll discover? Who knows what surprises and new visions will come our way? God go with you and may Christ be astride your steps as you move through your days and God’s good creation.
Be God’s, Pastor Jim