This afternoon, I had time to walk amongst the beauty of Daniel Island and in the quiet, gentle breeze reflect. I have spent most of my adult life and ministry in both learning and teaching that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. This last year of the pandemic has been an unusual time of not feeling connected to one another in ways that I once took for granted. Yet, more than this it has been a season of rediscovery of my lifelong passion to be close to the One who called me into being–“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Isaiah 44:2)
All of us have experiences within our lifetimes, wherein the framework within which our lives were operating and moving along smoothly from day-to-day suddenly changes. Sometimes the change is planned, but more often than not it is thrust upon us. And it is the latter that can really shake us to the core. This may be the sudden end of a relationship, a life-changing illness, the loss of work and position, the loss of our home, the death of someone we loved dearly, or even a world-wide pandemic. As painful and difficult as these changes may be to our physical and emotional being, they in time are as well unique opportunities to make better sense of our stories…to journey if you will, closer to God.
Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk and one of the foremost spiritual thinkers of the 20th century, wrote: ” To keep ourselves spiritually alive we must constantly renew our faith.” When the framework within which you have been living is suddenly changed or torn apart, this can as well be a moment (when you are ready) for a renewal of your faith. Without this framework, we perhaps have time to pause, to gather our thoughts, get our bearings, heal, and look ahead. And, these times may become blessed opportunities to journey forward and become closer to God; a God that never leaves our side.
Theologian and Oxford professor, Alister McGrath writes, “The image of a journey reminds us that we are going somewhere. We are on our way to the New Jerusalem. It encourages us to think ahead and look forward with anticipation to the joy of arrival. One day we shall finally be with God, and see our Lord face-to-face.” Yet, now you and I are called to be present to this moment in time, reflecting upon how today we may become closer to God and serve others in His Name…