Signs God has given us
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Jeremiah 6: 16 (NRSVA)
16 Thus says the Lord:
Stand at the crossroads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way lies; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
There is a West African wisdom practice known as ‘Sankofa’ and the image is of a beautiful swan whose head faces backwards as their body faces forward. The idea being that to move forward in life, it is important to look back and learn from those who have gone before us. The text from Jeremiah invites the people to do just that. They are told to stand at the crossroads and discern the paths of their ancestors. Those ancestors are people who were released from the bondage of slavery and wandered (whining and complaining) in the wilderness for 40 years, the people who marched around the walls of Jericho and watched them fall, the people who repeatedly forsook the Lord, despite being carried off into captivity twice!
We are invited to stand at the many crossroads in our lives too and make choices informed by those who have gone before us. We are to look for the signs God has given us through their lives and pay attention to them.
But for many, one of the most difficult things to do is to trust the voice of God in ourselves for many of us tend to trust the voice of someone we deem more spiritual than us, more Godly… However, when we choose to walk the path of intimacy with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we see that God trusts us with His character, His identity, His work in the world and it is important then to know that God trusts us to trust ourselves. Yes, mistakes will be made, and we will grow in grace.
Looking back is a vital part of discerning the future and living in the present. Doing this will give us courage to speak truth, to challenge injustice, greed, wickedness. Surely, this is the path to find rest for our souls.
Eternal God, thank you for the stories of Your people in Scripture and in the history of all Your people. Help us accept Your wisdom, freely given, that we might celebrate our gift of life in and through You and serve Your purposes in the world today and tomorrow. We pray in the Name of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
LENT FOCUS 3: PATHS
This week we are thinking about paths. A reflective activity you could try this week is getting a piece of paper and drawing an outline around each of your feet. Reflect on the past year of your life and the year ahead. In one foot outline write some of the places you’ve been with God in the past year and then on the the other foot you could write about where you are going to be with God in the year ahead.