The lectionary text for tonight was Genesis 12:1-5. In it God calls Abram to journey from his home and family to go to Canaan. The Gospel text was John :1-17 where Jesus tells Nicodemus about the need to be born again. "Born Again" is one of those phrases I hate to use anymore. As I said in my sermon, people today either use the term with scorn or as a badge of honor to separate them from the unfaithful. Jesus didn't intend it as a label, but as an action. Being born again means that you're different. In a good way. You take on the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven, not earth. And that's a process. It means that each day we work at getting rid of our immaturities and work at becoming more Christ-like. It's a journey. Much like the one Abram was called on.
Abram was called when he was 75. God didn't think that was too old to use Abram to change the face of history. Abram just had to be willing to take the risk and travel into the unknown. He had to be willing to be changed by his journey. For that's what journeys do--they change us.
It so happened that when I started preparing for this sermon I was just starting a book on the ancient practice of spiritual pilgrimage. The author surmises that we were meant to be pilgrims, not people who build cities. I believe we're meant to be both. We need to journey (both literally and metaphorically)--it expands our view of the world and it can be spiritually changing. We also need to root ourselves in community.
I'm not going to put my whole sermon here, but I'm still thinking about this journey thing. I know I'm still on one as I'm learning who God made me to be and what He has in store for me. And while journeys can be a bit scary as we don't know what lies ahead, but they're also exciting as we make exciting new discoveries. And through it we're changed--hopefully more into who Christ calls us to be.