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"The Long Walk Home"

The road is long. You need help. God provides an answer. 

“No one can do your walking for you, but you don’t have to walk alone.”

A good friend of mine uttered those words many years ago as he was describing a pilgrimage he took to The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. The cathedral is considered by many to be the resting place of the remains of the Apostle James, and the pilgrimage (referred to as the Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James) is one of the oldest in Christendom. While there are many routes, the most popular is over 500 miles and takes many weeks to walk. Those who embark on this journey do so for various reasons, but each is motivated by a desire for reflection and prayer, as well as the opportunity to meet other pilgrims from all walks of life from all over the world.

As my friend recounted his journey, he explained that during the pilgrimage there were many days in a row he was walking through the plains of Spain, where, despite hours of walking each day, the scenery never changed, and one became convinced that no progress was being made toward the destination. There was often no reference point other than the time spent in conversation with those along the way.

During his description of this pilgrimage, its length, its difficulty, and its beauty, I could not help but think of the church.

“No one can do your walking for you, but you don’t have to walk alone.”

Each of us is on a journey. A long journey. For each of us that journey is different. At times on our journey we are in good health and good spirits and surrounded by sunny skies and beautiful landscape. At other times we are weak and weary, it’s windy and cold, there is no shelter to be found, and the scenery is beak and boring.

When God brought the Israelites out of the slavery of Egypt, he took brought them to Mt. Sinai and explained to them who they were, who he was, how they were to relate to him, how they were to relate each other, and he promised them the Promised Land. Then he sent them into the Wilderness where they learned what all that meant, and why it was so important. We often lose sight of the fact that he brought them out as a people and sent them to the Promised Land as a people. They endured their failures - together, and they rejoiced as God repeatedly blessed them – together. 

When we give our lives to Christ, we begin a journey. Thankfully, God created the church so that we would not have to walk that journey alone. In the church we find ourselves surrounded by those who have walked the road before and can help us. In the church we find ourselves surrounded by those who have been walking less time than us who need our encouragement and guidance. In the church we find ourselves surrounded by those who can serve as a reference point for our progress when it appears that we are going nowhere. Sometimes we will want and need to talk together about deep things. Sometimes we just need someone to walk with us quietly. Sometimes, we need someone to call us back to the path before we wander too far off.

Sure, the church can be a scary place. Sometimes we end up hearing discouragement when we need encouragement. We open our hearts and end up wounded. But, that is not the way of the healthy church. At times, it seems like the church is just a place that we are supposed to go on Sunday morning to hear a sermon, get communion, and drop off some money. But, that is not why the church the church was created.

The church was created by God as an instrument for shaping us into his disciples. The church was created by God as the means by which he announces what life in the kingdom looks like – and a huge part of that is community. In other words, the church was created by God to declare that we were not created to be alone or to walk alone.

At Trinity, our mission statement is, “To experience and extend the transforming presence of Jesus Christ – together.

That is an important and all encompassing mission. “Together” may be the most important part of that statement.

“No one can do your walking for you, but you don’t have to walk alone.”

Come. Let us journey together.

- Pastor Michael

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