As a dog owner, I'm accustomed to heading out for a walk. I've already discovered some great places to take our pooch, 'Harpo', and look forward to exploring other destinations once the weather improves. At the moment I'm just very thankful for our wonderful church grounds and the opportunity to walk around the neighborhood! (as the picture to the right illustrates).
Further afield we've discovered wonderful places for a dog stroll, not so far away, include Centennial Park, the Nature Conservancy, and the Patapsco State Park at Daniel. There's even a path from the church property that leads into the woods and eventually down to the Patapsco river, that I think at one time was used for a 5K run by the Mount Hebron High School. It's a little overgrown, but passable with care!
At 13+ years Harpo is not quite the youthful pup he once was, but nevertheless he still loves getting out and enjoys every smell and sound that a stroll offers. For myself, taking a walk is often a time to reflect and think things through, and more than one sermon idea has surfaced whilst taking a stroll. Among my personal list of spiritual practices I would definitely include 'Walking the dog!'
During Lent we've started to take a look at some of the covenants God made with different Old Testament characters. Last time we thought about Noah and the Rainbow (sermon here). This coming Sunday we'll be looking at Genesis 17:1-7 and reflecting on words God gave to Abraham, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.”
Abraham had as much difficulty with the latter part of that verse as most of us do, but the walking part he managed to apply to his life without too much hesitation. The notion of 'Walking with God' remains a powerful image for spiritual pilgrimage. Life is a journey.
On that journey we are all at different stages. I'm aware that neither myself, nor Harpo the dog, can tackle some of the more ambitious adventures we once may have embarked upon. Yet we've also discovered that when you slow down, you catch glimpses of things you previously passed by. There is always something new to discover, even if it only turns out to be your personal limits.
A song I'll be referencing this coming Sunday is 'Walking Man' by James Taylor. Always been a favorite of mine. If you are not familiar with it, give it a listen. And whoever and wherever you are, stay warm, be thankful for the good times and walk with God!
Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D.