Jackie and I set out on another journey this month. This time we are cruising the open prairies and mountain vistas of Montana. There is something about the open road, something about new territory, new sights, new sounds and new people. I guess that is why Willie’s song, “On the Road Again” stays at the top of the charts. Yesterday we visited Pompy’s Tower and viewed William Clark’s inscription, the only remaining physical evidence of his epic journey with Meriweather Lewis to discover the northwest passage. He scratched his name on the sandstone cliff overlooking the Yellowstone River during their return trip, July 25, 1806.
Something about the human spirit has always been drawn to the journey. We are mesmerized by the expeditions of Marco Polo, Columbus, Magellan, Lewis and Clark, Lindbergh, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. We are drawn to the imaginary journeys of Hobbits to find Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings and Star Trek’s quest to go where no man has gone before. Journeys, both real and imagined, change the world and they change us.
God chooses to reveal himself to those who are on the journey. In fact, redemption starts with God’s call to Abraham to leave the country of his fathers and launch out on a journey to places he had never seen. Moses’ famous journey out of Egypt resulted in the Ten Commandments which provide the basis for all moral understanding. No journey was ever more life changing for human history than the journey Jesus set out upon when he left Nazareth and gathered his motley band of twelve men to follow him. Their travels on foot through the regions of Galilee, Judea and Samaria changed the world. The stories of their encounters with the lame, the blind, the rich, the poor, prostitutes and priests provide us the framework for understanding God and our selves.
We are all on a journey. The journeys we choose, where we go, how we get there and who goes with us will shape us and change us for the better or the worse. We like to think we are all going to the same place, that we will all arrive at the same destination no matter what we believe, what we do or how we live. But the fact of the matter is that this just isn’t true. Different roads lead to different places. Jesus said “broad is the way and wide is the gate that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) He alone knows the way that leads to life and He continually invites us to join the journey that leads us there saying, “Come, follow me.”