May 2016 – Where are we going?

There’s a dialogue in the (rather adult) children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, in which Alice asks the Cheshire Cat:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

 “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. 

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice. 

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation. 

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Where are we going? – is always a question worth revisiting. No disrespect to Alice, but if we’re followers of Jesus, of course we believe it matters more than we can even imagine where we’re going.

Most of us believe our ultimate destination goal is heaven – the kingdom of God – life eternal with God. How we say it depends mostly on which gospel we’re in. Matthew’s gospel usually speaks of the kingdom of heaven, the gospels of Mark and Luke usually say the kingdom of God, while John’s gospel speaks of life eternal with God. However we phrase it, our ultimate destination goal should always be kept in view.

It’s nearly always helpful to also have short term destination goals. When we’re traveling across country by car, it helps to have a good idea where we’ll be stopping each day or night for rest. Some destinations require advance reservations, especially in peak seasons. If we’re planning on staying with family or close friends it may be fine to show up with only a little notice, even late at night. Even then, it’s usually best to know someone will be home… But wherever we’re going, how we plan to get there depends in part on where we’re expecting to be.

Experienced travelers virtually always have a Plan B (and a Plan C) just in case. In Acts 16:6-15 the apostle Paul and his companions are traveling on a mission trip when the Holy Spirit blocks them from going where they intended. They turn in another direction. The Spirit blocks the way again. Then in the night God sends a vision that leads to Philippi, and the planting of the Philippian church. We’re never told exactly why God led the disciples this way. Perhaps there’s some resemblance here to the way God leads Israel through the wilderness by a much longer way around in order to avoid conflicts that might scare the Israelites into retreating all the way back to slavery in Egypt (Exodus 13:17-18). Perhaps this is simply one of God’s ways of helping us to be spiritually alert and capable of response to God’s leadings. As the beloved old song says – “Though by the path he leadeth, but one step I may see”… The point really not being that God is not letting us see as much as we might like – the point being rather in the completion of the phrase – “his eye is on the sparrow – I know he watches me.”

As Christ’s church here in Bourne and Cataumet, where do we feel God leading us? Where do we think God is directing us to be a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? I hope we will all commit to deep prayer and consideration and discussion of where we are going and how we hope to get there.

Most of all I pray we will all be looking and listening closely for directions from our gracious God.  Because when we’re really doing this…. we’re already well on the way to where God wants us to be…

The grace and peace of our awesome God be with you,

Pastor Tim