Summer is upon us, and the questions, “So, do you have plans to get away this summer?” are beginning to be asked. It is only fitting as the words “summer” and “vacation” go together like ‘happy” and “birthday”, “peanut butter” and “jelly”, or “shrimp” and “cake” - you really can’t have one without the other.
School is over (for most anyway), graduations have been held, and families are beginning to plan their annual pilgrimages to the mountains, lakes or beaches, historical sites, national or amusement parks, whether a different city, state, or country or not. Summer is always a perfect time to get away and experience new journeys and make new memories.
As you pack your suitcases or tents, cars or RVs, I hope you will leave room for one more thing - God. Make sure to take God along with you. Trust me, God doesn’t take up much room - you will still have plenty of room for your toothbrushes and socks. However, I can guarantee that God will make your experience and journeys much more memorable - transformational in fact. It is just all a matter of perspective - how you look at your journey.
As you head out on your journey, be sure to look for signs of God along the way. They are there - for God is everywhere - in nature, in creation, in the people you meet and the relationships created.
I remember as I first experienced the awe-inspiring majesty of Arches National Park in Utah several years ago - the words of Psalm 95 came bursting forth in my mind (“In his hand are the caverns of the earth, and the heights of the hills are his also.”) While snorkeling in Belize and experiencing the beauty of God’s creatures of the sea, the words of Genesis 1:20-21 flowed forth (“So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, …. And God saw that it was good.”) Seeing the whales in Alaska (“There is that Leviathan” Psalm 104), or the majesty of the Colorado Monument (“I lift my eyes to the hills, from where is my help to come” Psalm 121), God was there - the God of creation as evident in nature.
Each experience allowed me to see God in a new way - through a new lens or light - thereby transforming my own relationship with God. Mostly, I was assured that no matter where I was, God was there also.
This summer, we want you to share our experiences with God with us. This Sunday, pick up your “On the Road with God” bag and take it with you as you travel on your various pilgrimages. Each bag contains items for you and your families to experience God in new and exciting ways while you are on the road. Most importantly, each bag contains “Flat Jesus” to help you remember that Jesus is there with you. Simply color, cut out, and take Him with you wherever you go. Be sure to photograph your “Flat Jesus” moments and post them on your own social media accounts tagging Holy Comforter (#HolyComforter) along the way. Or share them with us so we may post them on Holy Comforter’s Facebook or Instagram page.
Use “Flat Jesus” to begin conversations with others - ask folks, “What “Flat Jesus” moments did you have?” Let your curiosity flow. Share your experiences, your stories, your own “Good News” with the people you meet, and with us! Such conversations and stories are consistent with Jesus’ own ministry of building and supporting relationships. If you happen to visit a church on your travels (which I HIGHLY recommend), use “Flat Jesus” to connect you with your fellow Christians.
God is in the world just waiting to be experienced. So let’s see where God is in the world this summer. And in the process, let’s see how you are transformed. You will be, for that is what happens when we experience the life-giving, loving grace of God up front and personal.