The sun came out – after a long, winter cold span. I sat in my parked car with the sun streaming in and thought, “Oh! It is good to rest here!” It reminded me of Peter’s statement to Jesus after the transfiguration on the mountain. Peter, James and John were witness to the transfiguration. Right in the middle of God’s glory shining down, Peter says, “Lord! it is good for us to be here.” (Mathew 17:4). Mind, he goes on to offer to put up tents, but only because “it was good” for “us to be here.” You may recall the response to Peter’s suggestion is “listen to my son” and “Get up” because we have to go.
I am Peter so often. Oh, I long to be Paul (Mr. This-One-Thing-I-Do). But instead I find I am Peter: impulsive, jetting enthusiastically one way and then just as strong on an about face. Loving Jesus, but a little rudder-free and wind-tossed. Sometimes (often), I am like Peter was in this moment: I just want to stay where it is good. Like that morning. I wanted to stay in my parked car in the warm sun and imagine that I was making headway on my journey.
Foolish, I know. But being human, I can easily deceive myself. I read scripture, I say a prayer, I attend Bible study. I mark all the boxes and say all the right churchy-phrases. But I wonder sometimes if I am just parked in my warm spot imagining that I am on a spiritual journey.
Am I making headway on my spiritual journey?
Am I growing at all?
Am I even different this year than I was this same time last year?
Because I would like to be. I would like to be in motion towards God and about God’s business in His Kingdom. I would like to NOT be a “parked car”.
The parking places, though, are so tempting! This, after all, is my comfort zone. I like it here, where things are the same and not challenging. I am known, the people around me are familiar, and my routines give me an illusion of control. It is a comfortable parking place – all this marking boxes, saying churchy-phrases, and volunteering in all the same old spots.
Yet even as I basked in the sun streaming thru my car window that morning, I knew I could not remain. Nor can I remain the same in my journey with God. If we are called to anything in Christ, it is not to stay (warm, safe, parked). Jesus said “come” and “follow me”. So, though my path is dotted with tempting parking places, I must stay only a short while in any warm and safe place. God’s call is upon my life – it is upon all our lives. Thus, while our destination is not always clear on our spiritual journey, the call to put one foot in front of the other most assuredly is.
In a practical sense, this means doing different things. It may mean reading a great authors from our legacy of faith from a different denomination (gasp! What?!). It may mean serving somewhere ne and challenging. It may mean curtailing your lifestyle to be a better steward of all God has entrusted to you. There are many things that might be a “new step” in your journey. It is rare that Jesus uses the word “stay” – so it is possible that doing the same old same old in your faith is just what you should be doing. But more commonly, Jesus said “go”, “come”, and “follow me”. This means taking new steps. So if you have become stale in your journey, or if you have felt safe and unchallenged for a while, then it is time, my sweet brother or sister in the faith. It is time to get out of our warm, safe, parking spot and make headway again.