I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. (Genesis 17:7, NRSV)
Life is a journey, not a destination. We have all seen that slogan on posters and t-shirts and other memorabilia. It’s become almost a cliché. Like many of my clergy colleagues, I receive news from diverse churches; it is fun and helpful to learn what other faith communities are doing. One of the weekly emails I receive comes from the First Baptist Church of Beverly, Massachusetts, where I served on the staff immediately after seminary. That church’s theme for the 2020-2021 year is “The Journey is Our Home.” Ever since I read that I have found myself putting them together: Life is a journey; the journey is our home.
Yes, we are on a journey. We are traveling from one place to another. The journey may be long or short, the pace may vary, and the path may be straight or curvy. But we are not sitting still; we are moving, if not through space, then certainly through time. In recent months I have been blessed to hear from members of our church family about many of the journeys you are undertaking.
Some of you are making the literal journey from places in the north back to Naples. A number of you are moving from a previous home (sometimes the home where you have lived many years) to a new home—that better fits your stage in life, is closer to family, or meets your needs in some other way. Some of you are finding your way toward health and wholeness through medical treatment, rehabilitation, or the support of those around you. Some of you are walking the journey with loved ones who are at the end of this life; others are walking the journey of grief because your loved ones have crossed over to the next life. Some of you are forging new pathways as you make the journey from a career into retirement. All of us are making the journey through a global pandemic—uncharted territory, for sure.
The Bible is full of stories of people on a journey. From the Exodus journey out of Egypt into the Promised Land, to the journeys Jesus made to proclaim the gospel, to Paul’s journeys establishing and supporting churches from Corinth to Rome, God’s people have been on the move. The good news is that they never traveled alone. Neither do we. The covenant God made with the people of Israel was fulfilled in Jesus the Christ. God’s promise to them is still God’s promise to us: I will be your God and you will be my people.
Prayer Focus: Traveling Companions
Prayer: Merciful God, Thank you for walking the journey of life with us. Help us to feel you near holding us up and guiding our steps. Thank you, too, for the human companions who journey with us, whose grace-filled presence is the incarnation of your love. Amen.