24 Jun 2022 • From the Clergy
As we move into the summer, many of you will be going on journeys of one sort or another.
There will be holidays taken in various parts of this country and further afield; visits to family members and friends, and trips out to places of natural beauty or historical interest. Most of these journeys will have a fixed destination and a set time to spend there before returning to your starting point.
Towards the end of the summer, some may have children or grandchildren making another sort of journey as they leave home to start university. This will be both a physical journey and a significant life journey as they experience a new level of independence, meet new people and follow new courses which will, eventually help to shape their future life.
The whole of human life is often described as a journey. From cradle to grave, we make our way through largely unchartered territory; others may have gone that way before but for each one of us, every experience is new, fresh and untried. It is, in turn, exciting and daunting; exhilarating and tedious; joyful and sad. And each one of us has a unique journey. No two people can ever have exactly the same journey because no two people are exactly the same; different personalities will view situations differently, respond to circumstances differently and create different paths. Just as we all choose different holiday destinations and different routes to get there, so our life journeys will be vastly different from those of the people around us.
Another journey is the one of Christian faith. Here we may all have the same ultimate destination in mind but, again, our routes there will be unique to us. For some, like me, the journey of faith began as a very young child and its origins are lost in the dim and distant past. Christian faith was part of your upbringing and although, at some point, you must have made the decision to continue along that path, you can’t imagine ever travelling along any other. For some people, the start of the journey was very obvious; a definite point at which you decided to follow this path. Has the journey been an easy, uneventful one, a clear run up the motorway on a good day, or has it been more akin to those torturous trips along country roads that bend and twist with steep hills that you struggle to negotiate and reach the top? Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a dip, with the fog coming in and the road ahead momentarily lost from sight?
For many of us, I suspect, our Christian journey has, like life in general, been a mixture of these. Times when we cruise along not really noticing the road; times when we’re at the top of the hill, thrilled by the view and the feeling of being on the pinnacle; times when it’s all a bit of a struggle or we can’t quite see our way ahead.
I am writing this letter on the eve of Trinity Sunday. On my desk is The Church Times, open at the page with a reflection on the readings for tomorrow. Cally Hammond has written:
“On Trinity Sunday we learn that “Truth” is our companion and destination with the Word (the Bible) our guidebook on the journey. The Holy Spirit is our sacred satnav; we input our intended goal, and the Spirit gives us directions. Even though sometimes we ignore the Spirit, thinking we know better, the Spirit exists only to get us home.” 1
For those of you taking a journey for a holiday over the coming months I wish you empty roads, calm seas, clear skies and trusty satnavs.
For all of us, I pray God’s guidance on our journeys. that we will discern the way ahead he wants us to follow; that we will have faith to stay on that road, even when the hills seem steep and the fog surrounds us.
Finally, whether your journey be physical or spiritual this summer, these words of a traditional Irish blessing, seem an appropriate way to end:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
1 Cally Hammond: Light for the way ahead. Church Times, 10th June 2022