Travel as a Spiritual Practice

In much of the Hebrew Scriptures God is on the move. Literally. God could erupt anywhere and people marked the spot as best they could, like Jacob positioning and anointing the stone after his radical dream of a stairway to Heaven. Before the temple in Jerusalem, Yahweh camped out with people who were also on the move, and Moses would emerge from these face to face encounters with Yahweh in the “tent of meeting” with his face shining like the sun.

Likewise Jesus covered some ground in the course of his ministry. You almost get the sense that any one community could not really contain him. They couldn’t bear to integrate Jesus’ topsy-turvey, last are first, teachings into their day to day social structure. So he kept going– leaving people touched and challenged and transformed in his wake.

Surely Jesus himself was deeply moved by what he saw and experienced during his ministry. I wonder if all of his traveling helped him to stay in tune with the living Spirit of God: God in a tent. God on the move. God dropping a ladder from Heaven down into an unfamiliar landscape. God who shows up in the face and stories of perfect strangers. 

In this time of summer vacation I invite you to reflect on travel as a spiritual practice. Have you had those moments? Camping out in a forest, wandering the streets in another country, working with someone whose language you don’t speak on a service trip? Those encounters where you are far away from the familiar yet you feel more at home than you do most days in your regular life? Where the beauty of creation hits you in the gut and you stop and pause because you just can’t pretend you don’t see it? When the thing you fear the most is returning to school or to work and having this impactful experience, this awakening to life’s textures and vivid smells, drain away?

What do we do with these encounters? How do they point us to deeper and ongoing relationship with the Spirit of God? How do we make sense of our own privilege to travel, in a city, and a world where people are bound to their own small spheres by poverty?

Provocative questions. Bring some travel photos and join us as we dive into them — tonight while eating some pulled pork/vegetarian quesadillas at Wes and Teri’s 6:30pm– and Sunday morning 11am. Call church at 214.233-4605 for directions.

Grace and Peace to you all this day,

Courtney

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