Bernie Anderson
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Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Sunday Sermonizing: Strange and Unfamiliar Territory


There’s an expectation of familiarity. It’s human nature. At least I’m fairly certain it is. Or maybe it’s my nature.

As I consider it, this is entirely possible.

I drive on the roads I know. It’s rare there’s any deviation. My tendency is to frequent the same grocery stores and to get gas from the same filling station. I make the same thing for breakfast most mornings. Coffee gets made the same way - and preferably at the same time.

Changes in routine are welcome, but not always “welcome”.

But this is not how goes a life of faith. At least this sort of mundane consistency hasn’t been my experience. It seems every few years along the way of this journey, we find ourselves in the “strange and unfamiliar territory” Eugene Peterson speaks of in such a prophetic manner.

And it’s unnerving.

And not only are we on a new, never-traveled road - the route is covered with mist and fog. The curves are uncomfortably sharp. The cliffs off the shoulder appear to be steep and deadly.

I question my decision making and my ability to navigate. I question my faith.

There is something comforting about a GPS. You know the beginning. You see the end. You can predict the route and get a warning if there’s traffic or if you make a wrong turn. "Recalculating" can be comforting.

There is no GPS for this journey. There’s not even an old-fashioned Rand McNally Atlas (if you’re under 35, it’s unlikely you have any idea what I just referenced.)

Clarity comes along. Eventually. But not from the direction we expect.

There are no guarantees. There are going to be moments (or months) of disorientation.

But at the end of the day, Jesus is the way.

He is always the way.

Sometimes it takes a little longer than other times to get that straight in my head.

The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped — it requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him.
— Eugene H. Peterson