It feels that we are moving quickly throughthis year. We are now past the halfway point and journeying into the last half of the year. There is also a strong sense of people moving through life. We recognise the benefits of both reaching our destination and the process of getting there. They both have a profound effect on who we are. Hopefully, it is a positive process, although the same is also true in reverse. We can see how we ended up in a worse place through a series of bad choices. There is nothing new in this wisdom; historically people have travelled to discover new worlds, set off on an expedition to increase their knowledge or made a pilgrimage to a holy place. Universally, it is not always the destination that is important but rather how we adapt to the task in hand. This brings many positive benefits and is a trusted and acknowledged way of change. It is no wonder that it keeps recurring like a common theme throughout our history. If we need any proof of this there are several television shows that are called ‘a pilgrimage’ in which a celebrity or celebrities journey to significant destinations. Added to that there are television shows that have the same theme of people travelling to a destination and we get to watch them navigate both the joys and the trials that involves. A clue to this is the word journey or a mode of transport in the title for example ‘great railway journeys of the world’. It is not all about where you go but how you get there. As I watch probably the most watched programme where people who really cannot dance discover they had talent that they had not realised, they use the word ‘journey’ so many times it is referred to as the J word!
Driving a car is an important example. As we drive, the windscreen is large to give the clearest view of the road ahead. We need to be able to navigate and avoid danger to keep travelling safely. But there are also mirrors to see both behind and beside. By contrast, these are small lenses that look back to where we have come from. If we concentrate on what lies behind we will more than likely miss something obvious in front of us. If we ignore what is behind and concentrate on what is ahead we run the risk of missing something coming quickly to overtake or overrun us. We need to focus on both in the right amounts, that is what is so difficult, getting the right balance.
We find that God is present in both the past and in the future. We can draw confidence that God travels with us. We can learn to use past experience to give confidence, equally we can draw a line in our past and find both forgiveness and guidance into a new future. The challenge is to accept we are on a journey and how best we navigate that journey. I find God a faithful companion who both helps and encourages us.
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) firstname.lastname@example.org