If we are going to break out of our small worlds, we have to be prepared to travel. We need to be willing to go on a journey. It was actually my recent travels that really made me realise how small my world has been in many ways. Since then I have reflected on how the language and concept of journey has been really dominant over the last 2 years - both personally and for the church community I belong to. We have been on a very significant journey that has involved change, challenge, excitement, adventure, surprise, being unsettled, learning new things and new ways etc. - and the journey continues, with even more twists and turns, and unexpected directions. Right now, my own personal journey has meant significant change.
Of course, there is a very real sense that we are all continually on a journey. At risk of cliche, 'life is a journey' and perhaps all that I am describing is simply this journey of life. Maybe. And then of course, as Christians, absolutely central to our faith is the idea of pilgrimage. We are those who have set our hearts on pilgrimage (Ps.84:5), on a journey to Zion, to the heavenly dwelling, to the promised land, to the fulfillment of the divine dream, to the city with foundations (Heb.11:10). And so travel, journey, pilgrimage etc. should be our common lot and daily experience. This is true. But I also believe that there are seasons in the spiritual life when we are made aware of this pilgrim call more than at other times (just as there are seasons when the language of establishing foundations, or sending down roots, are the appropriate and primary metaphors). And it is also sadly true that we - both individually and corporately - can allow ourselves to become settlers rather than pilgrims, to stall on our journeys. God then graciously stirs things up, and us up, so that we are unsettled, and have the opportunity (if we respond) to set out on the journey again. Many of us feel that this is exactly what has been happening.
So over the next week or so, I intend to reflect on this idea of the journey, its various aspects, and its meaning for me - and maybe for some of my readers - now. In the next post I will look briefly at how and why the Bible presents and explores this idea of the journey. Hope it will help.