I have never used a compass to navigate any journey I have undertaken but I am sure I have depended on persons –like pilots–who did use a compass. Even without having used one, I’ve seen one and of course, I know it is important to know where East and West are, North and South, in relation to me and wherever it is I am located.
Some of you are old enough to remember Triptiks, those maps that AA A would print you with details on not only which roads to take in your route to your destination but also warnings on construction and advice on speed traps. Those were useful but of course were overtaken by Mapquest in the dawning internet age and now, of course, GPS systems we carry in our pockets on our phones.
Getting located is something most of us find very important. Indeed, when a loved one or friend seems overwhelmed by circumstances in their lives we will sometimes say, “they seem lost” or “they don’t know where they’re going.” And it is why sometimes we’ll say to our loved ones, be they children or spouses, “come home” since home is that one place where they not only have to let you in (I believe that was Robert Frost’s definition) but it is the one place to be counted on for knowing where you are in the world.
Which all may explain why the Church has hymns like Softly and Tenderly that has the line “come home.” It yanks at our heartstrings. And the Bible has remarkable stories like the one Jesus taught about a young son who took off with his inheritance, squandered it to the point of living and eating with pigs and finally returned home. His father, standing on a porch and seeing him from the distance, ran to meet him in the road, hugged and kissed him and welcomed him home.
Navigating the spiritual life involves all of these things: finding a compass or GPS or map, sensing that one is lost (it is impossible to be found if one has not awakened to the truth that s/he is lost), and making the trip. I hope you’ll join us this Sunday for worship. It is basically the place and time when we who have been and are lost find our way home. We’ll sing “Amazing Grace” and declare that we’ve been found. We’ll rejoice in the sheer joy of being human beings made in the image of God. We’ll embrace like a family reunion and we’ll humbly make our way to God whose light, like a sun rising in the East, confirms the road we’re on leads to a place called faith, hope and love. ~ See you Sunday