From your pastor…
“I want Jesus to walk with me, I want Jesus to walk with me, All along my pilgrim journey, Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.”
(#521 from the UM Hymnal, Afro-American spiritual, adapt. By William Farley Smith, 1986)
Recently, I had the joy of watching, through a program on television, two men climb to the top of a mountain in Nevada that was over 10,000 feet at its peak. They had tried unsuccessfully to climb it before in the winter, but had to turn back because the snow was so deep it was covering up some cliffs and they could not be sure of the path to the top, and it was too dangerous. They were wise to go back down, and save it for another time. This time, they climbed up the mountain in the fall. There was some snow they encountered, but it was not as deep, and they could tell where there was a sure and solid path, and more importantly, where the cliffs were located. One wrong step and a person could plunge over 1000 feet to their certain death. They were smart and wise as they climbed. They also reflected on how much they had learned about climbing mountains since their prior attempt. They had kept sharpening their skills and being wise in taking the time to carry the proper equipment. They had to change their gear out several times. For example, as they encountered snow along the trail, they attached these steel grips on the bottom of their shoes. They pulled out an axe along the way to help them anchor themselves in case they started to fall. At one point, the sun came out so strong, even though they were in the midst of snow, they had to pull off their heavy jackets and pack them in their backpack. When they reached the top of the mountain safely, they were shouting and were euphoric. They could see the landscape below for 150 miles. What a scene they witnessed!
As we begin a new journey this year, I am reminded of that old proverb: “A thousand mile journey begins with but a single step!” I love that phrase. Not all of us are able to physically climb mountains, but we can cheer on those who do! We can enjoy the scenery through their videos! We can take the journey that lies before each of us, and step out in confidence and faith into another new year. We do not know what is ahead of us in 2019, but the Lord knows each step! I love that old spiritual quoted above, because to me, the most important thing about the 2019 journey is that I want Jesus to walk with me. Jesus can be my guide and your guide, even through deep snows, storms, cliffs, problems, and challenges. And also, Jesus can guide us to that place of joy where we shout praises and can’t even believe how good life can be!! Some of us will welcome new life into our families this year, and others will say a fond farewell to our beloved ones. Such is the circle of life. May all of us depend on Jesus to lead us to new heights and to help us to navigate the depths as we face them, step by step.
The Psalmist declares: “I lift up my eyes to the hills –where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:1,2,4 NIV)
Grace and peace,