It is a fine autumn day for a walk in the woods. I take our 14-year-old yellow lab, chow mix for a wander on a path through a preserve across the street. Because of the very thick carpet of leaves, the path is barely discernible. However Jack, the dog leads me on unperturbed. He knows the way having walked it many times with his master, my husband. Although I cannot see the path Jack has no trouble walking around the big circular loop, leading the way. It speaks to me about our spiritual path. How if we spend time with our master, and stay in the path, we will know the way. Jack is going blind and can not hear very well, and lately he has had some trouble walking due to a stroke. But this does not phase him on our walk. He is happy to be out in God’s creation and trucks along in front of me. In fact, as I pause to take a picture and admire the beautiful leaves and branches against the deep blue sky, he pulls on the leash wondering what is taking me so long. Why don’t I follow along and keep moving? If I look closely I will notice that there are signposts, miniature yellow diamonds nailed to trees along the way. And there are helpful raised wooden walkways in places where it is damp. And there are kind souls who have cut some of the larger fallen trees leaving a pathway open for the Sojourner. Somewhere under the leaves, people have placed branches along both sides of the path to define it and show us the way. On our spiritual journey are there places where we need to sign posts or little walkways to keep us out of trouble?
When I was growing up, my dad commuted by train to Manhattan from the suburbs. I live in the suburbs of another city and work in a suburb that is 10 miles from my house. Recently I started taking the train to work. Better for the planet, gets me a brisk walk each day and time outdoors, and also can be paid for with pre-tax dollars – lots of positives here. And it gives me a short window to sit and enjoy my tea while reading a bit for grad school. Plus lots of people watching. Recently my twenty-four year old remarked to me that she feels like a grown up because she has a monthly pass to a parking garage – now I feel like a grown up because I’m taking the train to work like my dad!
The best thing about it so far has been the short walk between the train station and my office which is 8-10 minutes depending on how briskly I walk. First of all, it is fall, so the trees are beautiful. Second the weather has been fair. And third, it’s balmy this week. There is something about being out in nature first thing in the morning that is soul nurturing. It is just a wonderful feeling. I love the outdoors and it connects me to my Creator. But I have found that a brief walk is also good for my brain – it gets my mind going. I always find new ideas and inspirations come to me while I am walking. So that is a huge benefit; what a way to start the day – invigorated, inspired, and intellectually awake.
The train is another story – going to work, there is a nice conductor, and the train is generally clean. And they announce the stops over the loud speaker as well as on a display monitor. Going home, they seldom announce the stops and it is dark and there does not seem to be a display monitor. How are we expected to find our way home? It’s too dark to see the names of the stations, and those signs are not lit up. Yesterday all the passengers were asking each other – which station is this and fortunately someone knew. And I could see a few landmarks I recognized one stop before home. Safely home.
My colleague subscribes to the Moravian Daily Text and often reads them aloud to us at the start of a meeting. I was struck by the language in this particular prayer:
Gracious One, do not stop calling us to open ourselves to your unimaginable love. Help us to come together that our witness of faith may be unified for all the world to know of your great compassion. Amen. (emphasis added) I know nothing about the Moravians, except for their motto which I have heard before: In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love
and which I think is a terrific sentiment. May we all be more inclined to love and unity as we reflect God’s unimaginable love. The daily readings suggested for this day by the Moravians include: Monday, November 2 — Psalm 119:129–136 Ezekiel 38:7–39:13 2 Peter 1:1–11 Jeremiah 29:13–14 Matthew 18:19
I pray you will meditate today on God’s Word and his unimaginable love.