I have been reading a book called “The Call” by Os Guinness. I bought the book ages ago, and rediscovered it while having a cleaning session just before Christmas. For many religious festivals, cleaning the house seems to be an important part. I don’t think for a moment that Santa is going to pass us by if there is a inch thick coating of dust everywhere, but a clean up for me is also something that cheers me up too.
I digress! The book has an interesting chapter on life being like a journey. When Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, and later James and John, and later still Matthew, “Follow me!” it was an invitation to join him on a journey. In this life we never reach a place where we have arrived, and all of us are somewhere along the route. Life is not static and settled, although we often live like is. We are not wanderers because we know where we are heading and we have the company of the Holy Spirit to guide us there. Not everyone has the same milestones that we have on their journey. They have the same destination but might not be walking at the same pace, or taking notice of the same landscapes.
I can remember, during my time in Cyprus, every year the school held a sponsored walk. It was not a five mile stroll, but a really difficult hike. The route was twenty five miles and began high in the Troodos mountains, and ended a few miles west of the city of Limmasol. It took in forests and vineyards, old monasteries and almond tree orchards. There were bits of it that followed a tarmac road uphill for two or three miles, while another section of the walk was following a goat trail along the top of a hill. It was a picturesque route, but very challenging!
The route remained pretty much the same year in year out, but the company changed as old students left and new ones arrived. You began the walk with member from one class, for them to decide to race on ahead somewhere further down the line. You caught up with another group, perhaps as they stopped to catch their breath at the top of the hill.
This is what Christian life is like – different people along the route. Sometimes they walk a few miles with you, sometimes it may be just a few hundred yards. Maybe they just wave as they overtake!
I was thinking about the people I had walked with for a while. I say people, but I mean just one person – my friend, Shona. I missed her company and decided to seek her out, just to find out how she was doing. She has stopped along the route, she is spiritually sitting down by the side of the road, perhaps catching her breathe, perhaps hoping for a sympathetic driver to come along and offer her a lift!
We invited herself and Patrick and Shannon to lunch on New Year’s Day. Joe entertained the kids – they were showing him the wonderful tricks is new mobile phone could do. Shona and I sat in the kitchen and chatted. I didn’t particularly avoid any talk of God. She admits to feeling a little adrift right now, but not cast aside or cut off from God.
It was nice to drop back a little and walk beside her again for a few hundred yards – simply to remind her that she was in my thoughts.