"being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
~ Ephesian 4:3
This morning during my time of sitting and meditating, I was thinking about the journey all of us seem to be on right now. Whether we realize it or now, we all are travelers on the same pilgrimage. I am reminded that roads lead us to many places, but like any good pilgrimage, our journey is filled with moments where we must stop, renew ourselves, rest, and consider the stranger that we meet along the way.
I've always known that I have an uneasy spirit. I'm not sure if it was the sixth grade teacher who belittled me in front of the class one day, asking me, "Why do you ask so many stupid questions," or the simple fact that I never saw myself as anything other than what I was told about myself.
We all have had these encounters in our life where our journey is stopped within the "next step," and we question what the next hill will bring.
I suppose it's because there just seems to be so much chaos in the world right now, I recognize our common journey is one of peace. Walking in search of peace will definitely bring nothing but peace!
Over the years I have read of people who suddenly have the urge to pull off the road they are traveling and go their own way for the sake of their faith. I have often wondered what it is about spirituality that suddenly discovers the navigational beacon within us, and draws us towards, or back to God?
I am drawn to remember the life of Shug Avery in the "Color Purple" who grows up in church, only to take her gift for singing into the back wood "juke joint." She fills her life with encounters that only seem to be filling some kind of void, until one day while singing she sings out, "Say, yes!" and leaves the life she has been living and journeys down the dusty road. With her audience following behind as she declares, "Speak, Lord. Speak my name," she arrives at the altar of the church where her father, the "preacher," finally embraces her and she declares, "See daddy, sinners have soul, too."
Our journey for inner peace is not always intentional, but it should be. It's almost as if we have a duty to disarm, disengage from our daily life, and realize that peace still exists. It always exists. It's just masked by everything we pile on top of it!
We are to love.
To consider the love that we have for ourselves, leaving those who have piled things upon us that we have both believed, accepted, and bought into. We are to name them for what they are as we pull them, layer by layer, off ourselves. Tossing these things aside, we begin to not just feel "lighter," but also embrace a deeper understanding of who we really are.
In the loving of ourselves, we become aware of our need to love one another. Every woman, man and child.
I don't know about you, but that pile of things in the corner can sometimes look like a mountain, but even that can become a distraction. These are things that distract us. They distract us from the reality of peace. Of love. And who we are.
We are all on the same pilgrimage. To discover the peace that always exists.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.