Scripture: Colossians 1:15-20 (The Message)
I am not a world traveler. I would like to say that I am … or that, in another season of life, I will be.
My 90-year-old Pop has traveled the world, in particular Europe and Asia, exploring and learning about people. At some point I will have to own that I do not have my Pop’s curious nature or yearning to see the world. Honestly, I admit I am a bit anxious and fearful of leaving the places and people I know well and where I feel most at home. I truly admire those with venturesome spirits. People who choose a place far away, study the people and their culture, read the Fodor’s guide, pack a bag, and hop a plane. I live vicariously through them. It is beyond my comfort zone.
In my time at FPC, I vividly recall attending Hilda and Wil Courter’s travelog presentations at Wednesday dinners 10-15 years ago. I eagerly await and listen when Neil Dunnavant returns from a trip with our members, sharing stories of places where walking or bus trips were adventures, the food and cultural traditions were exotic, and those who traveled had a deepening of the spirit.
Most recently, I have marveled at our youth and their trip to Africa in 2019, to meet people and to learn and grow deeper in their faith as they built relationships with those whose lives are so different from ours. Their testimonies in worship after the trip truly inspired me.
This Lent, we are called to find the presence of God in each and every place we pilgrimage. To seek the “imago dei” (the image of God) and revel and delight in God’s creativity and diversity of the people of this planet. And while the pandemic leaves all of us homebound, unable to harness a venturesome spirit and travel and learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can challenge ourselves to study and pray from afar.
We can pick a place and a people whom we might deem so different from us we think we have no commonalities, and we learn about them. We can pray and ask God to teach us to see with God’s eyes how we are all made in God’s image, celebrating our shared life in Christ. May we open our eyes, our hearts, our minds to how God’s presence is in every time and place.
We thank you, O God, for the beauty and diversity of all peoples of every race and nation. Speak to us and deepen us as we learn about and celebrate your presence. Amen.