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A Now Familiar Journey  


Do you like train journeys? I do, especially when it means I will see my grandchildren at the other end. The first time I took the Eurostar to Paris, I was incredibly nervous. My inability to speak French and unfamiliarity with the metro was frankly terrifying!  My son had told me to buy a my ticket at Gare Du Nord, hop on the Metro and he would meet me at a particular stop. Sounds easy, no, not for me. Fortunately I had the appropriate phrase written on a piece of paper, which I showed and I got my ticket. Now to find the right line! Well I won't go on but I did manage it and now some 12 years later I can navigate my way round Paris on foot, by metro or bus. My French is not great but I get by. I love the journey on the train, I have my ipad loaded with a film or pod cast and settle down for a bit of "me time".

Jesus took great trouble to get not "me time" but "Father time". He travelled tens of thousands of miles by foot during his ministry, with his disciples and often with crowds at either end, eager and demanding of his time and energy, or causing conflicts that needed careful managing. No wonder he needed to find places to recharge his spirit.  His travelling started before his birth. The direct distance, as the crow flies, from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 70 miles but Mary and Joseph probably walked more than 90 miles before they reached their resting place at the stable. Then there was the flight to Egypt, probably a distance of 300 and 350 miles.

Jesus was constantly on the move, I looked up where he travelled and quite frankly I would never have been able to keep up! Miles and miles of walking up and down and across Palestine. And there were no roads as we know them, how quickly we complain about pot holes and traffic. No Jesus would have trodden rough uneven roads, over hills and dangerous parts, he went through areas that others avoided.

Jesus didn't just visit a place once he went back to some again and again. If you would like to get an overview of his preaching journeys, then I found this website helpful, it does admit that there are some discrepancies but it gives a good idea of the distances and effort involved.

We live busy lives, maybe we are not doing so much travelling as we used to, thanks to the pandemic, but we like Jesus need "Father time". For me it's too easy to not make that a priority in the week or not give as much concentration as I should. My mind wanders off and I get distracted but I always feel better for making the effort and it never ceases to amaze me how the Holy Spirit speaks through these times. I don't want to ever lose the habit. As I have "The Bible In A Year", with Nicky Gumble app on my ipad, so can still do it on the train!

Father, as we go about our busy lives, please help us to take time out to spend with you. Amen.

Catherin Tidmarsh, 01/11/2021