think on, pRay on, act on this
Travel Route 66
I don’t have a ‘bucket list’ for my retirement – I’m just looking forward to the next stage of life’s journey – but if I had, Route 66 would be on it. I’ve never been to the States, and whilst New York doesn’t attract me I would like to meet real people in the real USA. Route 66 is indeed quite a journey, visiting places and communities such as Chicago with its violent and lawless history; St. Louis, founded by settlers from France; Oklahoma and a story of challenge and progress; to Los Angeles, a bustling, multi-cultural, liberal community of 10 million people; with some difficult terrain and wilderness along the way. It would be like travelling through history to the present day.
You know me well by now, and know how much I love my Bible. One of the many reasons is that it’s a history and travelogue of mankind’s journey, right from the start; through lawless days to the giving of the Law; very graphic accounts of wars and disputes as communities struggled for land and their very existence; times of abundance and times in the wilderness; and signposts all along the way towards a vibrant new world, with God as our ever-present travelling companion.
Yes, it really is like that – and it also happens to contain 66 books. They include books of the law, on which the laws of Western countries including ourselves and the USA were based – and history books, which many say contain unforgivable violence. But if the Bible were extended to include modern history, it would honestly record the most dreadful atrocities, as warnings from the past and encouragements for the future. And in the Bible there are very personal stories, life-journeys in themselves, and of course the journey through times of wilderness into a relationship with God and the living community of God’s Kingdom.
None of us knows the next chapter of the book of our lives; we think we may do, and we are navigating towards the best possible destination; but surely the best advice I can give myself is to take along with me at all times a travelling companion who has ‘been there, done that’ in every way, and is Himself ‘The Way, the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6) That’s Jesus, of course.
And so in this my final Vicar’s Letter, which also happens to be the 66th, may I encourage you to make the same journey, in your own time and at your own pace, inviting Jesus to accompany you through this exciting and challenging world. Join me on Route 66.
‘I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 29:11).
Yours in Jesus,