Now that Trinity Sunday is past, we are in what the church calls 'ordinary time'. I like ordinary - just plodding on, putting one foot in front of the other in familiar rhythm, but not always knowing where I'm going.
During a prayer time for people exploring their vocation in the Church of England I placed these boots in the centre of the circle of 'explorers' and gave a reflection roughly as follows:
I invite you to look at my walking boots. These remind me of days of sheer joy and peace, walking in sunshine. I also remember, stormy weather, getting tired, taking the obvious path that turned out to be the wrong way, getting lost, even feeling afraid - and longing for home.
The picture of walking is repeated throughout the Bible. It’s often use to describe a relationship with God. Those who live as if God doesn’t exist or who ignore God’s Way, are said to be “walking in darkness”. Those who “walk with God”, following God’s Way are described as “walking in the light”.
In the reading (Malachi 2: 1-9) we heard a description of Levi, the model of a good priest of the old covenant between God and his people. I’ve brought my boots along to highlight one phrase that describes Levi’s character. The Lord said of him, “he walked with me…”. Levi walked with God. You’ll remember that others were similarly described. In Genesis (5:24) we read that “Enoch walked with God” (5:24) as did Noah (6:9). When God made his covenant with Abraham, God said (Genesis 17:1), “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.” And in the Mosaic covenant we read, “…keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and fearing him” (Deut. 8:6).
I'm assuming you are are here today because you are seeking to know what God is calling you to be or to do. You are asking God, “Lord, show me your way for my life. Which path should I take?” It may be that this morning He will nudge you one more step in a particular direction, or ask you to step back, turn round, go another way.
Whatever specific role God may call you to fulfil in his service, the primary call is to walk with God. Essentially that means developing a relationship with God. So, while you may be struggling with confusion or uncertainty about your particular vocation, don’t forget the guidance God has already given to you about walking with him. For example, these words from Micah,
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)Walking is ordinary, down to earth. Something we only have to do one step at a time. What happens when you walk with someone? You have to be willing to walk together. You have to travel at the same pace. When one stumbles or gets stuck in the mud, the stronger can lift the other up.
If we walk with God, we’re choosing not to walk our way, but in obedience to God’s way. Walking with God involves having a conversation with him on the way, listening to Him. Walking with God puts us in the place where we start to see things from God’s perspective. Walking with God as a Christian, means living in the presence of God. It may sometimes be a walk through storms, difficulty and challenge. Jesus made it very clear that obeying the call to follow him does not lead to an easy life. But it’s the path to true joy and peace.
Photo: my own