For the past few weeks, we have been accompanying the Hebrew people on their journey through the wilderness as it is recorded in the book of Exodus. And now, as we come to the end of our “Generation Xodus” worship series, we are going to leave them there. Yes, it is time for us to move on to something else, and as a result we are going to have to leave Moses and his people out in the middle of nowhere, still wandering, still on their way.
If you read ahead in the story, you learn that they eventually get there – to the Promised Land, that is. Not that they actually stay there, but they do arrive. It takes them a few years, and none of the people who started out end up crossing the Jordan; the 40 years of wandering indicates the time that a generation passes. But we are not including the “ending” of the story in our worship series, and we are doing that on purpose!
Because that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? I mean, we are still in the middle of our journey, too, aren’t we? God will let us know, one way or the other, when we arrive at our ultimate destination. The point of discipleship is to undertake the journey as faithfully as we can. There is always more to learn; there is always deeper truth to explore; there is always another step closer to God we could take.
I once saw a church sign that said, “Where will you be ten minutes after you die?” I knew what it was talking about – an afterlife in heaven or hell. But the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Upon death, concepts like “ten minutes” will be meaningless, as we dwell in God’s timelessness. And anyway, why worry so much about that, when all that is truly in our control is right here and now, along the journey of life on this earth?
There is a destination for the journey of faith. Some call it heaven. John Wesley called it Christian Perfection. Orthodox theologians call the process theosis – becoming more and more like God – with resurrection as the goal. And the good news is that God is in charge of that destination – “Salvation belongs to our God” (Revelation 7:10) – which leaves us responsible for the journey itself. That is, we freely choose our response to the promised destination and then enact that choice through our discipleship, our service, our giving, our love.
We’ll take another step of the journey together this week as we worship and study and pray and sing together. Make a point to gather for worship this week to wrap up our “Generation Xodus” series, and get ready to launch into another!
I’ll see you in church, Andy B.