Exodus 13: 17-22 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer... Instead, God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea… The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Clivie is getting ready to start school at his new Co-op Preschool to get ready for Kindergarten (!) next week. We have been preparing him for this change for a while, and he is excited about it. He is also a little sad that he will not be spending as much time with his friends at his current day-care and anxious about meeting the new kids and teachers. “Mommy,” he said to me with excitement and trepidation in his voice yesterday morning, “it’s going to be different.”
Our son is growing and moving into a new developmental phase in his life. And yes, “It’s going to be different.” The energy of fall is coming on stronger now even though many of us are still dreaming about summer vacation. We are a little sad that, “It’s going to be different.” Our neighborhood is changing yet again. The real estate boom is in our midst. The community is becoming more diverse, and two new day-care facilities are opening a stone’s throw from UCH. And there is no question, “It’s going to be different.” And some of us are getting older and noticing that we aren’t able to lift those heavy tables and boxes like we did at the Flea Market a decade ago. And yes, there’s no doubt, “It’s going to be different.”
Our roundabout wilderness journey at UCH is taking us through many different kinds of terrain. Sometimes our “yoke is easy and our burden light.” And sometimes our trail is rocky and uphill with no shade or water in sight. As we reflect and journey together, we learn that in some ways we are still in bondage in Egypt. In other ways, we are in the middle of the wilderness. And in yet others, we are catching glimpses of the “promised land.” Even though we have intentionally embraced this journey, even though we have made a commitment to be open to new things, there is no question, “It’s going to be different.”
But here is the really good news, Beloved Community. No matter where we journey, or what adventures and changes we resist and embrace, our Still-Speaking God promises that She/He will be comforting us, giving us light and shade, a “pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.” God also promises to never leave us. God’s place is with us, and our place is in the presence of the Holy, whether the sun is blazing, the breezes are pleasantly blowing, or it is so dark we can’t see our hands in front of our faces.
I am blessed to be your Minister, Teacher, and Spiritual Navigator as we travel this “roundabout way.” I hope that you experience God’s presence, no matter what kind of “different” road you are traveling this week. Much Love, Rev. Jeanne