Are we there yet? - Monday Musing, July 20, 2020
Are we there yet? At some point during road trips on vacation, it is common for passengers to inquire, “Are we there yet?” Parents of children can relate to having heard these words uttered countless times, not just on long car trips, but also on shorter journeys as well. As much as vacationers are weary from bumper-to-bumper traffic driving to The Cape, they are excited about starting vacation – who wouldn’t be excited to spend a “let’s-forget-COVID-19” vacation on Cape Cod in July? As I was pondering those words, “Are we there yet,” it occurred to me that anticipation of the destination oftentimes overshadows the journey itself.
Lao Tzu, philosopher and poet of ancient China, is quoted as saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” No journey ever gets completed that isn’t started. Once you get started, you only have to do one step at a time. Getting started can sometimes be hard (so is walking a thousand miles!). Why is it that we oftentimes focus on our ultimate destinations and not look around and take in our surroundings?
In the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), they did not recognize Jesus until he broke bread. How could these two disciples have walked, talked, and eaten with Jesus without recognizing him? Luke’s story about the disciples on the road to Emmaus is very instructive. Like the disciples in this account, are we, too, missing the resurrected Jesus in our midst? Are we content to simply read stories about good Samaritans in the newspaper or on our Facebook news feed, or are we actually helping to transform lives around us? In a ‘thought for the day,’ Dear Abby captures the sentiment this way, “The best exercise in the world is to bend down and help someone up.”
In these COVID-19 days of experiencing worship differently than we are accustomed, we can relate to the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus because we, too, are having a hard time recognizing the risen Christ in our virtual midst. We recall the scriptures and place them in the extraordinary context of Jesus. And we recall his powerful moment at the Last Supper, when he gave his closest followers bread and wine to provide nourishment, meaning, and direction for having a fulfilled life. But are we there yet?
Life is full of many journeys – through city streets and country roads, through garden paths and ocean sands, down biking trails and through a global pandemic, but Christ is always with us – always calling us – always waiting for us to invite him – into our homes, at our meals, and into our hearts. Are we there yet? No, our lives and our faith are a journey, not a destination. May you be warmed by God’s love during these days of summer – on whatever COVID-19 escape-journey you take.