There are a lot of highway miles across our North District. Beautiful vistas and wonderful communities to cruise through. Because I have driven down the same roads; taking the same route time after time, I can easily cruise by a spectacular site or not even see the people who make their lives and homes in small and unassuming places. Getting from point A to point B is all too often the point of the travel.
In this season of Epiphany, I think about the travels of the Magi and the miles they covered. They did not have Google Maps to show their location, the speed they were traveling, and the ETA for their destination. It seems for the Magi, the journey was more about the WHO than about location. It was about journeying to the Messiah and the people they would meet along the way. Even Herod, despite his dark intent, became a guide for the Magi to find the Messiah. Along the way, all things and opportunities became important in the larger unfolding story. Nothing would be dismissed as ordinary or insignificant.
On the Day of Epiphany 2020, I met with Pastor Antonieta in a familiar spot at La Bonita Supermarket. As we met, I could hear over the store speakers, We Three Kings, playing as background music to the everyday activity of shopping for groceries. The music at first seemed out of place in such an ordinary place, but then I took great heart as I considered the way in which this feast day was woven into the fabric of this community. I was encouraged as I realized that families that day would gather at their dining tables and enjoy the Kings’ Bread. I realized great meaning as I considered that in simple ordinary moments is how and where the Gospel story continues to be revealed.
As I drive across our North District, I pray to have the eyes to see the people, to see their hopes and their hurts; to see God at work. I pray that as we, The United Methodist Church, journey through these coming months — from now through General Conference in May and then Annual Conference in June and then in the time following — that we will see God working and moving and active in and through all people. That in the sights and sounds we will witness God’s music playing in the background, the star guiding us forward, and all of us are a part of making this journey and salvation story a reality for our future.
Our church is in the midst of a journey. Let us keep our eyes upon the Star of Christ and our hearts upon our neighbors as we journey through unfamiliar territory. Let us persevere because we are a part of the Gospel story unfolding and yet to be fully revealed. I wonder what incredible vista will be around the next bend!
Your Traveler in Christ,