Called to the Journey - Even without a Map
Our son Michael graduated from college with a film editing degree last December. Just after he embarked on his job hunt, California shut all non-essential businesses down, and the journey seemed to come to an abrupt halt. Still, he got back on the path, hunted for jobs online, joined online employment agencies, sent applications, and called friends and colleagues in his network—all to no avail. So, he took a detour and quit the online hunting. He reached out to individuals who led churches, owned small businesses, or taught in nearby schools. “What video help do you need?” “How can I be of service?” There was no handbook for job hunting this way, no map for this unexpected journey. It seems his university’s career center forgot to add the chapter on “finding work in a pandemic.” It wasn’t the journey he’d expected, but it was the journey to work he loved and felt called to do. And along the way, he not only found work, but discovered colleagues and companions he might never have met otherwise.
Similarly, Simon, Andrew, James, and John embarked on one sort of fishing journey the morning they met Jesus by the shores of Galilee but ended on an entirely different fishing trip—a journey to fish for people instead of seafood. Throughout their years alongside Jesus, the journey of discipleship was filled with unexpected twists and turns. Jesus’ initial small band of Jewish followers would grow and expand to include strangers, Samaritans, lepers, women, children, and even Gentiles. Joyous crowds would turn into angry mobs, and energizing days would turn into exhausting weeks. Still, the disciples followed, while their unexpected journey unknowingly prepared them for the day when they would lead without Jesus at their side. Even years of studying Torah could not have prepared them for the many twists and turns along the way. Yet, still they answered Christ’s call and journeyed in faithful discipleship, and discovered that they were not alone. God’s Spirit traveled with them, as She always had.
Our journey of discipleship this past year has been one of the most unexpected journeys we have ever known. But along the way, we have created new possibilities, answered God’s call in different ways, and learned to lean on new friends and depend on others in different ways. On these journeys of answering God’s call without a handbook we discover what the fairytale characters discovered in the Sondheim musical, "Into the Woods" when their fairytale endings don’t end up “happily ever after.” They discovered what God promises: We are not alone. No one is alone.