Our impending trip has been looming in the distance for over 12 months, requiring detailed planning, critical decisions, and ongoing thought about and investigation into requirements and trip plans. But for different reasons and at different times it has faded into the background. While we were always aware that this date would come, the requirements of daily life and responsibilities to be upheld continued to demand time and attention. Over the last few weeks the intensity has increased - the recognition that we would not be around required detailed preparations for handover (although one feels as though this can never be done adequately), and in some cases, closure (a bit like 'wintering' one's life). And now, as this final weekend is upon us, there is an eerie sense of expectation and hesitation: what will we face? Are we adequately prepared? Is there anything forgotten?
Luke makes an interesting observation on the ministry of Jesus at the end of chapter 9 (verse 51). He records, "...and it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem." It is early in Jesus' ministry, yet is declared the defining feature of his teaching and decision-making from this point forward, and sets the frame for his comments on discipleship which follow immediately after this observation. When one's life is focussed towards a place where he will experience rejection by his people and death on a cross, attachment to present concerns such as a place to lay one's head, or hanging around till his father died take on a different perspective.
In reality we live with a cornucopia of goals and deadlines, a patchwork of futures and barriers day by day. Some days are filled with regular deadlines, others offer opportunity to align ourselves with longer-term plans and goals. And then there are days just enjoyed - or suffered - for themselves, without any sense of context in the overall purpose of life.
In all these settings we are followers of Christ:: people of the moment, people of the future, people responding to immediate concerns. We trust the Spirit's guidance and empowering for each day, and take time out to consider ourselves in God's overall perspective. While it is beneficial from time to time to consider how it is that we would like our life to be remembered, in the business of each day we make myriad decisions and respond to myriad pressures which push such perspectives into the background. But if we fail to pause and give it due consideration, we risk losing our way altogether.
The planning of this trip and its unfolding over the months ahead will serve as a reminder of the faith journey: considering daily tasks and goals in the context of an overall journey. Through prayer and reading of scripture each day, the same balances need to be evident in our own journeys. May God bless and lead us all in its unfolding.
June 18, 2006