We are only weeks away from the beginning of summer with its traditional travels to relatives, road trips, national parks, and even trips to other countries. The season is one in which we have time to relax and do something different. Mark 6:31 records Jesus saying, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. While I was away in May, I read a book about the Orthodox Church called, The Orthodox Way, by Bishop Kallistos Ware. He begins the book with a dialogue between a man who travels frequently and a woman who lives in a small room, never going out. The man asked her once why she was sitting there. “I am not sitting. I am on a journey,” she replied.
I am on a journey. Bishop Ware stated every Christian might apply these words to himself or herself. “To be Christian is to be a traveler. Our situation is like that of the Israelite people in the desert in Sinai. We live in tents, no houses, for spiritually we are always on the move. We are on a journey through the inward space of the heart, a journey not measured by the hours of our watch, or the days of the calendar, for it is a journey out of time into eternity. One of the most ancient names for Christianity is simply, ‘the Way,’ a name that emphasizes the practical character of the Christian faith. Christianity is more than a theory about the universe, more than teachings written down on paper; it is a path along which we journey – in the deepest and richest sense, the way of life.”
You can imagine my surprise reading these words during my own travels. They provoked me to think about how we as Christians go through life. One day of my trip I drove to an area in Norway where my genealogy work has led me to believe is from where my great-great-great grandparents emigrated. Their journey in life included a huge transition leaving behind a country they knew for one that was completely new and foreign.
How do you see your own life? Do you see it as Bishop Ware does, always on the move, on a journey out of time into eternity? The typical way of viewing life is to measure everything and often in relation to others. What kind of grades did I earn in school and how did they compare to the grades of my classmates? How much money am I making and how does that amount compare to what my friends make? How big is my house and how does it compare to the houses of my friends and relatives? These aspects of life are all temporary. Even the biggest building of an era centuries later becomes a place of discovery for archaeologists.
How about the spiritual aspects of your life along the Way as you move forward into eternity? Even if we think we stay home and rarely go anywhere, we are all on the same journey towards eternity with Christ, our crucified, risen and ascended Lord.
As we enter the summer months, some of us will travel around the world, across the country, up north, or even stay home. Summer is a time when the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” ring true. Every day of our lives is part of our individual journey out of time into eternity. Use God’s Word to nourish yourself daily on the journey. Take some new journeys into Scripture in parts you have not read for a while. Remember we do not travel alone and uphold your fellow travelers in prayer, and always remember our destination, eternity with Christ.
Pastor Michael Dorner