Hi everyone. Rob here.
In March I’m taking part in a 50 kilometre charity walk. I must be mad. I went for a training walk on Monday, covered about a half of that distance and my body screamed at me. As I was walking I was thinking back to my Israel trip and the terrain that Jesus walked. It was seriously and relentlessly hilly, undulating and uneven. It was rocky, dry and when the heat beat down it must have been incredibly tiring. No wonder he could sleep on a boat in a storm! Now let’s think about the fact that Christmas is where we celebrate incarnation.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14).
Incarnation means that Jesus Christ, Son of God, took on our humanity. When he walked on hilly, rocky terrain in thin sandals his feet got sore. When he slept on the open ground I imagine he woke up stiff and sore. He would get thirsty and hungry. He would get bitten by bugs. He would need to go toilet in the open air. But he kept on walking because he loved us. From Galilee to the Jordan River to Jericho to Jerusalem and more, Jesus walked. He walked to proclaim God’s kingdom from town to town. He walked to get baptised and he walked to visit friends. He walked to take his disciples away for teaching sessions and he walked on water just to take a short cut. He walked to Jerusalem and he walked to Golgotha and the Cross. He walked out of the tomb and along the shore of the Sea of Galilee to restore his friends. And he invites us to walk with him now.
We don’t just believe in Jesus, we walk with him. We follow him as the 12 disciples followed him; by putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, even as we keep our eyes on him. This picture of Jesus and us walking together implies effort, sweat, mission, purpose, companionship, community and intimacy. It also implies a certain pace of life. We can’t get ahead of Jesus and we can’t get too far behind either. We look to him, are dependent on him for each day’s purpose. Every day we are asked to recognise our need for him, his love for us , our love for him and our commitment to his Father’s kingdom.
I am seriously middle-aged. My body groans fairly regularly. But so often Jesus faced another hill, another trek, another day on those aching feet and he did it. He did it because he had a higher purpose, a greater goal. The 50 kilometre charity walk is a great goal, but there is a higher goal. Jesus prayed,
Your kingdom come, your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
That’s the goal and we are all invited to walk with Jesus and be part of it happening. So I get up. I pray. I surrender myself afresh. I write, I plan, I say yes to invitations. But I can’t forget the companionship and the community. None of us can. We walk, but we must walk together, follow Jesus together, massage each others metaphorical feet and keep going together.
So stretch your legs, get training, gather your team and walk. May God give you strength, stamina and grace.