Our Journey Begins

August 31, 2016

Earlier this month, Robin and I drove from San Francisco to Denver. Friends watching our posts on Facebook often remarked: “Not exactly the direct route.” They were right. We intentionally drove a circuitous route to acquaint ourselves with the Mountain Sky Area. In fact, in a week we put over 3,000 miles on the car!
Lesson one: There is a lot of land out here!

Since Robin had a Deaconess meeting in North Carolina, and the Bishop’s residence wasn’t available yet, I continued to meander through the area, driving up to Billings to do further exploring. As I drove I kept singing this song:

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Leaving the sea-bound coast for Big Sky Country, God was a constant driving companion, sometimes whispering, sometimes nudging, but always present. As the geography changed to unfamiliar formations, God was there. As small towns gave way to wilderness, God was there. As the weather seemed to change with each passing mile, God was there.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have born my peoples pain.
I have wept for love of them, They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them,
Whom shall I send?

I prayed the miles, including each town that I passed in my prayers. I wondered who lived there: what did folks do to earn a living? What were the secret hurts they harbored? What were the longings in their hearts? What filled them with joy? How was God made real to them? How were United Methodists sharing the love of Christ here in tangible ways that brought healing and hope? I prayed for the pastors and laity who were God’s hands in these places that people called “home.”

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them,
Whom shall I send?

As the odometer continued to turn, I realized I was driving into God’s new reality for me, for you, for us. God has invited us to a banquet table and reminds us, “Leave no one out. Go to the highways and the byways and invite my children in!” God is promising us that our longings and hungers will be met through God’s abundant love. There is enough for all God’s sons and daughters. We don’t have to worry about scarcity at God’s banquet. God will surprise us with all God has in store for us! Our lives will experience a wholeness we can’t even imagine. Our souls will be satisfied in ways we cannot even anticipate.

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

As the miles passed, I realized it was this chorus that was guiding me better than any map or GPS: God has called, and I have said yes to the journey. I look forward to having you as my traveling companions as together we hold God’s people in our hearts. God invites us to open our lives up to Love’s leading. I don’t know all that God has in store for us, but I am excited to share it with you!

In anticipation,
Bishop Karen