Even though I had a great trip overseas, it is great to be back home — thank you to everyone who travelled with me in prayer, and for those who were landed with extra work as a result of me being away!
Well the week that I left it was at least 35 degrees in the city bowl, so you will understand that my system was in shock when I landed in Minnesota to sub-zero temperatures, getting to as low as -17 degrees at one point during my visit.
In fact the day after I arrived my hosts thought it would be a good idea for me to try cross-country skiing to acclimatise. I thought so too! I figured because I could down-hill ski that cross-country skiing should be a breeze. Before clicking into my skis I looked with envy at the experienced cross-country skiers gliding briskly and effortlessly across the smooth, white carpet of snow. I pictured myself soon imitating them. In short, I was confident.
My friend advised that I stick to the cross-country track (two parallel ruts in the snow that help to direct one’s skis). I admit when I heard this I thought to myself that I was being unnecessarily stifled. After ignoring the advice I soon found myself “slip sliding away” down the broad path of aimlessness — with no control to stop myself. Humbled I decided to take the advice and get into the track that I now realised was there to enable, rather than curtail my freedom. I soon became very appreciative of those who had gone before, who had carved out the track in the first place.
As we start our Lenten journey I suggest that we step into the carved-out tracks of the faithful who have gone before us, and be increasingly deliberate in our devotion to Jesus. To enter the track of prayerful silence and reading the Scriptures not just to be informed, but transformed. To hunger for justice for another human being who has been wronged, and to share mercy with someone who has wronged us. To live in reverent relationship with creation by preserving our natural resources.
This track is for our freedom! Alan
Sunday 13 March 2011