Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Journey Worthy of Repeating

Isaiah 53:1-12 and John 19:1-19

 It is summer and the long, hot days bring thoughts of vacations spent on warm, sunny beaches, camping and fishing in the mountains, or touring sites that offer us endless recreational opportunities.  The majority of Americans are only able to afford a week or two to take a holiday from the daily grind.  The rest of the summer is spent playing during the short weekends, taking brief jaunts not too far from home.  However, there are some who have scrimped and saved to take a unique, once-in-a-lifetime trip they know will never be repeated.  Perhaps you have planned to visit another  country or take an extended trip across our own in order to become acquainted with its history and diversity.  When the money that was targeted for this vacation is gone, all that remains are photos stored on a hard-drive or placed in a photo album, a few trinkets, and memories that are tucked away to revisit when they are stumbled upon.  We think we were fortunate to have been able to accomplish this dream vacation that we know will happen only once.

The lasting effect of vacations can be rewarding, especially when family is gathered and relationships renewed and encouraged.  Our children and grandchild are, perhaps, the greatest beneficiary of such times together.  I have my own special childhood memories of vacations and weekends spent with my family.  But even they are apt to forget, storing away in their mind’s souvenir box the special times spent on trips far from home, only bringing them out and dusting them off when prodded to do so.  As our children grow, they will plan vacations and trips with their own children, continuing the practice of escaping the doldrums of work and home, and their children will also store away the memories to gather the dust of everyday life.

But there is a journey that all of us are capable of taking, one that does not require the extra efforts of saving money, taking time off from work, and attempting to cram as much sight-seeing and recreation into the little time we have.  It is a journey that is free of cost and one that can be taken at any moment we are so inclined.  The journey can be long and arduous, sometimes even heartbreaking, but the benefits of it far outweigh any discomfort you may experience.  It crosses all boundaries, requires no passport, and the time you are able to spend there is limitless.

The photos you take will forever remain fresh and vivid in your mind.  The souvenirs you gather are made with the finest, purest gold and adorned with precious and brilliant gems - and they are free.  You will never tuck them away in a box where only you will be able to view them, for you will want all you know to see them, handle them, and desire them for themselves.

When you come to a certain part of the journey where you believe the end of it is near, you will not despair like you do when most vacations come to a close and you have to return to the drudgery that awaits you back home.  At a crossroad along the way, there stands a cross.  It calls out to all who come to take a moment and contemplate its importance.  It is there where the most rewarding part of your trip waits because, if you choose to continue, it promises it is only the beginning of a lifetime of wonders, beauty, inspiration and joy that knows no end.   You will find new and exciting things at each bend and curve in the road; the road that extends throughout eternity.  You will drink from the purest waters and dine with others from a table spread with the richest fare.  And you will be in the company of the One Who has made it all possible.

I hope you will consider taking this journey.   It has already been mapped, planned, and paid for by Another.   Nothing is required of you except pausing a moment to consider it and taking your first step on the pathway.  As you travel along the road, open your eyes to the scenery around you and delight in what was placed there for your benefit.  I am sure that when you do, you will find it is a journey worthy of repeating.

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