Journeys and Crossroads
I’m finding a theme to this summer.
The topic has come up in multiple ways.
First was my own journey. Dave and I spent a week in Ireland with my womens’ chorus. After Ireland , Dave and I journeyed to the sacred Island of Iona, off the northwest coast of Scotland. It was a journey getting there: taxi, ferry, train, train, train, ferry, bus, ferry, through four countries. At the end of the journey was three days of quiet, minimal internet, a great view of the Isle of Mull, and 18 hours of daylight to enjoy it all.
I watched the daily journey of others to Iona: religious pilgrims taking retreat on the island, or simply taking a day to enjoy the holy grounds of the abbey; hikers equipped to battle the bog and rocks to see the white sands of Columba’s Bay or the marble quarry; day trippers, just out to spend the day on this wonderful island; and people like Dave and me, taking a retreat from the world for a few days.
My children have been journeying back and forth between Denver and Philadelphia for work, for fun, for friends.
I’m on a journey as I leave the job I’ve had with the church for nine years, and Pr. Dianne and Kanchalee will be on a journey as they learn to work together.
The church I visited on Sunday talked about being on a journey this summer, to tackle changes and learn how to be uncomfortable in growth. In a discussion following worship they talked about how to journey together as a congregation and a community in the wake of the killings in Charleston.
Journeys take us places.
Sometimes journeys take us home, an end point. They’re comfortable. We know the route, we know the sights along the way.
Sometimes journeys deliver us to something new. Journeying to Ireland was an opportunity to see new places, learn new history, and get to know people in a different way. There are women in the chorus whom I have sung with for years, but did not know until last month that we have similar interests.
Sometimes journeys are adventures. You may know the route, but it's not an easy one, or a quick one. You have to really want to get to Iona Island. But the adventure of getting there leads to the reward: a few days away from the world.
Sometimes journeys lead to a crossroads, where decisions have to be made. It’s possible to avoid crossroads, but then you miss the opportunities that exist in taking the unknown path, and the challenges of going into the unknown.
Where will your journeys this summer take you?
Our journey in life is straightforward,
for most of us, most of the time.
We all jog along together
without having to think very much about it.
But then, suddenly, we find ourselves at a crossroads.
And we wonder where we should go next.
And nothing is clear at all.
Crossroads are places where we must make decisions
and choose which route to take.
They can be painful places, and places where sacrifices have to be made.
They can also be places of liberation.
For Jesus, the place of the cross was all of those things.
At this place, we think of people we know
who are at a crossroads,
and we hold them in our prayers.
And we ask that,
wherever we are in our journey,
we may take the path that is right for us
and for those with whom we travel.