Thursday, May 21, 2009

Journey [jur-nee] noun.

Def'n: a process or course likened to traveling; a passage

Journeys are interesting creatures. You never imagine what you'll discover along the way as you follow the Road before you. For example, the recent revelation that my family clan has its own official brand of whiskey.

Upon further reflection, perhaps not entirely shocking, but still... Who knew?

But the whole concept of "journey", regardless of whether or not one finds liquor named after one's family, remains an intriguing one. Journey implies leaving one thing and moving towards another. The destination is not always clear at the outset -- just ask Abram of Ur.

But for some reason, a journey is decided and embarked upon. Reasons for such journeys are as widely varied perhaps as the people who are on one:
  • a yearning for something beyond the next horizon
  • a dissatisfaction with the current geography, be it spiritual, political, or relational in nature
  • a sense of restlessness and a longing for exploration
  • a sense of something stirring within, that excites a willingness to risk, to dream, to dare
Because a journey that costs us nothing isn't like to be a journey worth taking. What we are journeying towards had better be lofty enough that it is worth the demands of the journey. Cost-less journeys do not inspire; they do not stir up vision, nor do they sync with the words of Jesus, "take up your cross..." (Luke 9:23-24).

St. Paul seems to get this. He once wrote to his friends in Philippi in a similar vein, using phrases like "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ." (Philippians 3:7), and "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead" (Philippians 3:13).

Somewhere along the line of Paul's own journey, he had caught a glimpse of something that so gripped his heart that everything else seemed like cow patties by comparison. All journeys cost something. Some journeys cost absolutely everything. The destination had danged well better be worth it. St. Paul seemed to think so, even as he wrote these passionate words after being a Jesus-follower for several decades (and likely just a short while before his own execution):
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:10-11)