In days to come when historians record the story of our present time they will characterise it as an age of TRAVEL. Anybody who tries to drive in and out of Cape Town will know exactly what I am talking about. Traffic congestion is horrendous. Bean counters have said that 250 000 vehicles look for parking in the city everyday. They argue that if we put a metre between the bumpers of each car and stretched them out in a straight line we would be in Johannesburg.
Behind this everyday picture of constant movement, there is a deeper truth – all of us are TRAVELLERS on the road of time. My sister Jeannie (pictured below) turns 70 on Tuesday. However varied our individual ages or circumstances may be, we all have this in common – we are growing older.
Jesus was a TRAVELLER. He is constantly on the move. We see him speaking to an individual then to the crowd; being in town then out in the country; walking on the road then seated in a fishing boat on the lake; talking to a group on the level plain or on the slopes of the mountain; in a private home or a synagogue or a temple, showing friendship to children and parents.
When he expressed a great truth about himself and declared “I am the Way”, he spoke with experience of a TRAVELLER. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”, he said. For he was a man on the move. Every road of life can be an Emmaus Road. Christ is our fellow TRAVELLER who breaks into our conversation and makes all things new.
When Jesus established his church in this world he did not refer it as ‘the church‘ but ‘my church’. There is something special about that which is our own. We may pass along streets with rows and rows of houses and not pay attention to them. But when we come to our own house, there is a difference. There is something special about it. In our Bible Study on Thursday we talked about times when there were no strangers on our streets. We traced the life world of our great grandparents and remembered the days of cart and horses, when the garage was preceded by a stable. Everyone was made to feel at home.
As much as the motor car has become our preferred means of transport, we are still TRAVELLERS. Christ continues to be our companion on the road of life. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. There are many who wonder – because of physical suffering – from their hospital beds about the pain they feel. “Can we go any further?” they ask. Others struggle with disappointment. Things have not turned out as they had hoped and it all seems so futile.
There was a time when St. Paul felt that he just could not go on. He cried to God to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed. The answer he got was not the one he expected. It was the assurance that God was on that road of suffering all the time. His grace was there – sufficient to meet every basic human need.
As the years pass by we journey from youth to age. The road varies – at times easy and pleasant – at other times steep and painful. There are days of sunshine and also days of cloud. The hymn writer reminds us that through all the changing scenes of life we do not TRAVEL alone. In Christ we celebrate God’s providential care. He is the One who will neither leave us nor forsake us.
In our joys, He is the very spirit of joy. In adversity and temptation a rock of strength. His story is a daily reminder for us to stop and look again. The seeds of His Kingdom, the proof of His love brings a new song of companionship in our hearts.