The Rev. Karen Gibson: We are all travelers
November 11, 2011
For the past 10 years, Matt Lauer has been featured on NBC's "Today Show" in a special five-day world tour called "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?"
During that five-day tour, every morning the show opens with a catchy tune to attract the viewers' attention. For the five days prior to the next show Matt offers a clue to help one guess where the weary traveler, Matt Lauer, may be found the next morning.
Matt and sometimes an assistant will during that week describe special attractions, such as food, clothing/fashions, music or landforms unique to that culture. For the majority of people, the special broadcasts during the week take you to exotic places, with unique sights, sounds and traditions from around the world that the majority of people would never experience otherwise.
Matt Lauer is the traveler, the one describing experiences on his journey. He is the one who packs his bags and prepares for unknown places and unknown experiences. However, anytime we take a trip there will be unexpected challenges along the way also.
Traveling is second nature to many people. Just this week I have spoken to someone who should be in Hawaii as you read this article.
And on the other side of the spectrum, I have also spoken to someone who should have reached the temporary home necessary for recovery purposes.
All of these traveling experiences are just reminders about our daily lives and how each one of us is on our own individual journeys. There are going to be unexpected twists and turns, sharp curves and dead ends.
The story in the Hebrew Bible from the book of Judges Chapter 4 describes the Israelites being sold into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan.
The Israelites, who had been cruelly oppressed by Sisera, the commander of King Jabin, for 20 years "cried out to the Lord for help; for he (Sisera) had nine hundred chariots of iron," Judges 4: 3b NRSV.
Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, who "was judging Israel" Judges 4: 4a NRSV, at the time and had a relationship with God that helped her save the Israelites. Deborah understood the rebellious, self-centered behavior of the Israelites, as they took their eyes off of God and ignored God's desire to be in relationship with them.
How many times have I been lost or didn't know where to turn? How many times did I think I could do it all by myself? Anne Lamott used the example in her book, "Traveling Mercies," of how she was in a hopeless situation one day with an old Volkswagen Van that wouldn't run at an intersection, and she cried out to God, "Help me, help me, help me!"
Anne Lamott looked across the street to her left and there was a mechanic working at his garage. God finds me too, and puts me back on the right street again, turned in the right direction, no longer lost and confused.
I realize that once again I've started traveling with God.
Not all of us will have the opportunity to travel around the world, but our journey with God can go much further. God journeys with us our entire lifetime, we have the opportunity to have a traveling companion or we can choose to travel alone.
Because of God's mercy and redemption I believe God is always waiting to be invited on the trip.
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