12 December 2019
REFLECTION ON A JOURNEY
Presbyterian Support Northern joined with the PCANZ this year to produce a book of Lent
studies for the time leading up to Good Friday.
They consist of a reflection on the readings for each Sunday of Lent which is paired with a picture drawn by children of the church. there is also a piece about an aspect of the services offered by Presbyterian Support.
The booklet is available and has been lying on the tables in the foyer for anyone who wishes to take one home with them.
Each year I, along with others, have been asked to be a contributor and this was my contribution for the Second Sunday in Lent this year. [The readings for the day were Psalm 121, Genesis 12:1 – 4a, John 3:1 - 17]
I find as people are shocked by the disappearance of a large Malaysian Airlines jet this week - somehow not comprehending how big the ocean is and the land masses over which we travel - that the perspective given by the psalmist in the Traveller’s Psalm 121 is still as relevant now as it was in a age when most travel was by foot.
Here is my contribution.
You are about to go on a journey.
People gather to say good bye. The dangers of the journey are on their minds. Many things can happen on the journey.
The travellers of ancient times set off on the road that leads into the hills towards Jerusalem. They look up to the hills and see only the places where the altars of sacrifice are set up for the gods. Gods are territorial and these are unfriendly gods.
What defence is there? How will these forces react to a stranger?
I lift my eyes unto the hills - where is my help?
And the reply comes from those left behind. watching, suppressing their own anxiety.
Seeing the elderly mother who keeps saying this will be the last trip, the next journey will be to another place.
Seeing the son with his first motor bike keen to get on the road, the niece clutching her bags with the OE ticket, they are so vulnerable, going off to the first job, or a new school or into residential care.
Those left behind reply with a statement of faith, reaching out in love.
“Your help comes from the Lord.”
You know, they say, “the creator of the universe. This God is with you”.
Using that old English word, Goodbye - God be with you.
Just as Abraham was called to journey and Nicodemus called into new life, to continue the journey so Jesus called his followers to come on a journey. The call of Jesus was to “follow me.” The New Testament calls that discipleship. We are asked to follow Jesus on the way, into our world, into our jobs and our neighbourhoods and trust, that God is with us in life and death and life beyond death.
To think about : -
What difference does goodbye being a blessing make to our journeys? [does this happen in other languages?]
What journey are you travelling on this Lent? Where is your help?
May God be with you on your journey
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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