A path can be viewed as being a way of getting from one destination to another, but that would be missing the journey in between.
The path between the two destination has a value all of its own.
I particularly like travelling on paths that I’ve never travelled on before. There are all sorts of routes near our house and I think I’ve journeyed on most of them. I’ve written before about my morning walks; I mix and match these walks around the various paths. As I do this there is a part of me that looking for a new route to take, a new destination to explore.
It’s been a special year in Preston, as part of the celebrations a new path has been created around the city – it’s known as the Guild Wheel. In many places this new route is a joining together of existing paths but in others it’s completely new pathway. One of the paths near to my house has been widened and tarmacked as part of the project.
As life’s routine has changed over recent months I’ve taken to getting my bike out on a Saturday morning. Over recent weeks I’ve really enjoyed dropping down onto the Guild Wheel near my house and going out for an explore. The Guild Wheel is over 20 miles in its totality and I’ve not been sure that I’d be able to complete the whole circuit so I’ve been easing myself in a bit. It makes sense to me, from where I set off, to journey the wheel in a clockwise direction. This means that I quickly drop down into the Brockholes Nature Reserve which is especially beautiful in the morning. When I started off, on a recent Saturday, I hadn’t done it with the intention of travelling the full route, but as I got into Avenham Park in the centre of Preston I was enjoying myself and decided to carry on. Once I had got to Preston Docks it dawned on me that I was already more than half way around so it seemed foolish not to complete the task at hand.
While I was intending to complete a journey I was especially enjoying the discovery of new paths and new places. Having lived in Preston for over 25 years it was wonderful to realise that there were things that I had never seen.
The Gospels in the Bible are full of all sorts of references to Jesus travelling from this place to another place. At one level we could regard them as simple facts that document the destinations that he travelled to, but if you choose to investigate the information that the Gospels are communicating you will realise that they are telling us that Jesus was travelling to all sorts of unusual places for someone of his background and ethnicity. John tells us about Jesus visiting Sychar, a Samaritan village where he met a woman by a well – Jews didn’t travel into Samaria, but Jesus did. Jesus travelled to new and unusual places.
Life itself is a journey, we can choose to walk the same path over and over again, or we can choose to explore new paths, different paths. We can walk or we can journey.