Walking through the bushlands in my local area of southern Australia invigorates me. There is in me something which relates well to the varied natural elements, whether it be the ever-changing Victorian weather (I’ll leave that for another post!), the changing terrain of the path, the many glorious natural wonders and views or perhaps it is just a step away from the hubbub of the ordinary suburban treadmill in which I dwell. Either way, I love a good walk in the country.
Although it is very risky, in my locale (and no doubt others) to truly appreciate the moods of the natural day one is best to go alone. This semi-retreat allows me to gather my thoughts by distraction in natural surrounding beauty and to find peace by physical exhaustion to tranquility.
- (May not actually be in Australia)
When bush walking it is easy enough to trip over something in the way; a rock, a stick, a hole. Often there are forks which demand a choice one way or another. Of course, I could be looking down when a darkening branch may smack me on the head or I run into towering rocks which hang overhead. There are all sorts of risks posed: and I haven’t even mentioned animals! Although I would like to walk alone I realize that to get the most out the surrounds I need a knowledgeable guide who can steer me on the right path, keep the risks at bay, and point me into a deeper wonder and appreciation of what is around me.
In this week’s gospel, Jesus is that guide: “I am the way.” Not only the guide, but also the path. In the second reading Peter calls Jesus The Lord the living stone. Some stumble on the path and are brought low. But those that follow the path attentively – hearing the guiding words, seeing the risks ahead, being in awe of the deepening appreciation – become a part of the “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart…”
As the path leads me and my appreciation of the smaller things deepens I become to realize both the immediate context of the landscape and to recognize a snippet of the bigger picture. Jesus reveals this truth to me, but he is also the truth. As I become aware of both detail and design it is Jesus who is revealed: he reveals himself. Also the invigoration of my spirit is found in him. The renewed life, and the strength received by it, is Jesus himself: Way, Truth, Life.
While Jesus is found in (actually surrounds) the way, it is worth noting where this path leads: it leads to the Father. This is our goal, our reward, our destination. At the end of the path we will see the glory of God, whether it be found in the glorious sunrise view from the top of the mountain or in the still waters of a valley, God’s glory will be seen – if we’re prepared to search.
Thomas and Philip are searching, yet they cannot yet see the detail or the big picture. Jesus draws them ever closer to himself. They were already on the path, they were already being shown the truth (though they were not recognizing it), and they were already being filled with the renewing spirit as seen in their willingness to search.
We are these disciples now: we can walk the path they walked, we are being shown the truth they saw, and we have the option to live in the same life. We can, but are we?
Take a moment to contemplate it. Take a day; a few days; a week. Perhaps get away from the busyness and rediscover nature. Find a walking path and walk with Jesus as your guide.
PS. My family and I just returned from the days activities – work, school, football training, then dinner. As we pull in the driveway, we see behind us a beautiful moon-rise. Yep. Moon-rise. We commented on the way home how there was a “spooky moon cloud” in the sky much like something you will see in Scooby Doo. By the time we got home the moon was just getting out from behind it like it was rising out of the cloud.the most extraordinary thing I’ve seen for quite some time. I fought the urge to photograph it so that I could just enjoy the moment with my family. Praise our Glorious God!
Often we don’t have to go to God, he comes to us. We just need to be attentive.