Monday, June 16, 2008

Food for the Journey

  • So long as we imagine it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about---He is looking for us. (Simon Tugwell)
  • We live our lives before the wild, dangerous, unfettered and free character of the living God. (Walter Bruggeman)
  • From The Sacred Romance:
Julia Gatta describes impatience, discouragement, and despair as the "noonday demons" most apt to beset the seasoned traveler. As the road grows long we grow weary; impatience and discouragement tempt us to forsake the way for some easier path. These shortcuts never work, and the guilt we feel for having chosen them only compounds our feelings of despair. What is a pilgrim to do? Listen in on the whispers of Pilgrim and his companion, Hopeful, in their dungeon:

Pilgrim: Brother, what shall we do? The life we now live is miserable. For my part I know not whether it is best to live, or to die.

Hopeful: My brother, remember how valiant thou has been heretofore?
Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou did hear, or see, or feel, in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What hardship, terror and amazement hast thou already gone through . . . remember how thou played the man at Vanity Fair, and was neither afraid of the chain, nor cage, nor yet of bloody death?

Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, broke out in this passionate speech:
What a fool am I, to lie in a stinking dungeon when I may as well walk with liberty. I have a key in my bosom called Promise, that will open any lock in Doubting Castle.

Pilgrim lay in despair because he had forgotten. Hopeful urges him to
remember, both all he had been through as well as the assurances he has from the One who called him on the journey. Life on the road requires recollection of our Love's past deeds on our behalf and his promise of continued faithfulness to us. We will need courage and patience and those are strengthened by remembering. We will need memory, which is to say, we will need faith . . . it would be a dreadful mistake to assume that our Beloved is only waiting for us at the end of the road. Our communion with him sustains us along our path.

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