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Follow Jesus to the Ends of the Earth

Month: October 2017

Enter Through the Narrow Gate

I took this photo on the Camino de Santiago and immediately thought of the words Jesus spoke, recorded in Matthew 7:13&14:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Or, as The Message version of the Bible puts it:

Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

The way to God is vigorous and requires total attention. That challenges me, as the words of Jesus always do. Where might we be following broad, easy paths when we should turn off on the narrow road? In a world where easygoing formulas exist at every hand, our thoughtful attention to the right path requires more of us than ever.

Mistakes are the portals of discovery

James Joyce

A Japanese Kintsugi bowl, which only becomes valuable after being broken and pieced back together.

Walking the Camino de Santiago

Walking the trail

One step followed by another. Crunching along the gravel trail as the morning mists dissipate. Moisture dripping from trees. Mounds of acorns and hazelnuts lining the trail. Cafe con leche in a trailside restaurant. Shadowing dairy cattle as they move from their milking barns to the fields. Sore knees. Blisters. Trailside shrines to lost loved ones. Fellow pilgrims from all over the world. Pilgrims walking to forget. Pilgrims walking to remember. Pilgrims walking and hoping to connect with God. Pilgrims walking in hopes there is a God. Pilgrims walking who don’t believe in God, but who are drawn to this place for some mysterious reason that they cannot put a finger on. Maybe it’s God?

There’s simply no place like the Camino de Santiago. I believe it’s a “thin place,” a spot in the world where the eternal is somehow present in an authentic sense to our temporal hearts. We will go back – maybe you should consider joining us next year!

Do Your Prayers “Fall to the Ground”?

We find a fascinating description of prayer in 1 Samuel 3:19. The writer describes Samuel as he grows up in the temple under the tutelage of the high priest, Eli. The scriptures say that, the Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.

So, apparently you can pray and have your words, fall to the ground. I wonder how many of my prayers have done so? I’m guessing enough to trip over, or even enough to be buried under. How many selfish and insincere prayers never make it to the Lord? Across my lips and straight to the earth.

Food for thought the next time you pray. Try to imagine where your prayers might be going – to the Lord, or to the floor?

Racial Supremacy and the Bible

How do you approach the controversy that has sprung up this year concerning racial supremacy? As one who tries to live with the Bible as the primary guide to how to live and how to relate to others, I want to let the Scriptures inform my thoughts.

Here are two passages that have been in my mind the last few weeks:

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This is a radial passage and was understood as such when Paul wrote it. He intended it to shock, to show his readers that all are valuable in the economy of eternity. There are no differences before God. All ethic groups, all genders, all stations of life are of equal worth to Jesus.

Revelation 7:9&10

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.

The language used here for “nation” means “ethnos.” So, literally every ethnic group in the world will stand before the throne of God and worship. The only supremacy belongs to the Lamb of God.

If this is the picture of the future the Lord has planned for us, then I can see no reason to hold to a theory of racial supremacy today. All are valued by God and all will be represented before the throne. Let us treat our fellow citizens with at least some of the respect that the Lord has endowed into each person born into this world.

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