Into the unknown…
…is a little how I feel this morning as I prepare to set out for East Kilbride Methodist Church, one of the churches south of the Clyde, in this Strathclyde circuit. I have never been there before but the map and the internet tell me it is about 45 minutes’ drive – plenty of scope for me to get lost! Since coming to Glasgow I have been rather timid about driving so this is a bit of an odessey… my SatNav will, I hope, be a guiding star!
As I gather my courage together, I remember similar feelings (on a rather different scale) at this time of year in 1993 (can that really be 22 years ago?) Then we were preparing to set out as a family into the unknown across the Atlantic, rather than just a river. Having been appointed as mission partners to Chateaubelair in St. Vincent, we had had to consult the atlas to find out where it was! No preliminary visit in those days, so we set off, with 4-year-old Timothy and 14-week-old Peter, on a journey which was to prove transformative. For the next four years, we lived, loved and learned so much as we made our home in the centre of that remote fishing village, in an amazing manse (centre of the photo).
There are so many journeys in the Christmas story; Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem and then fleeing to Egypt, the magi journeying from the East, Shepherds heading into the town and then back out to the hills rejoicing… Today’s lectionary highlights Mary’s visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, in the hill country of Judea for an encounter which seems to set them both alight. We visited the “Church of the Visitation” on our first visit to the Holy Land in January this year, where this beautiful sculpture marks that meeting.
May all our travelling today light that flame of love and joy. Jill