I walked to work today. I walked to the gas station where they have a free ATM and to the Post Office to pick up mail, passing the dry cleaners because I don’t have anything there and besides I’d pick up whatever might be there on the way home, and so I walked on to the church. We’re living in the city of Lancaster and that means I can walk to work, walk to the Farmers’ Market, walk to the Opera House or the tailor or the pizza place or city hall or the barber or the art galleries or a gift shop if I forgot a birthday or a special event, which I wouldn’t do because these places are so “on the way” I’d be reminded, and any number of restaurants or coffee houses… walking. It’s a great thing.
I’m reminded of so many things when I walk. My neighbors… as I pass houses and little yards, a guy closing up and pulling over a garbage can which turns out not to be his because his neighbor, who’s coming out her door, says, “Hey! Thanks for doing that.” And he says, “You’re welcome.” And they both nod at me as I walk past. And the guy walking his kind of ferocious looking dog, who holds him back so I can cross the street. And the two guys who, I get the feeling, are waiting for a ride and just chatting, while one is cleaning up his porch. I’m reminded of my neighbors.
And that causes me to pray. I’m reminded to pray for neighbors and the neighborhood and the city and the church.
Which puts me in mind of the Holy Spirit. I’m thinking that this isn’t just because I’m walking but it’s because I’m surrounded by the Spirit. And now, as I watch my feet crossing a street, I start to think about the Spirit. We’re talking about the Spirit for the next several weeks at church, so it is on my mind. But now I’m just thinking about the Spirit and Kohler… what’s up there?
Suppose, I consider as I walk, the Holy Spirit is a constant companion, always walking with me. I used to think the “paraclete”, the Greek word used by Jesus in John 14, meant only “the-coming-alongside-one” but it has a greater meaning I find. It means something more along, the “alongside calling one”. That gives me a whole different image, an image of this someone next to me and telling my spirit “You can do this! I’m with you. You’ll make it! Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about the day. Don’t get sidetracked. Keep your eyes up! Pay attention to this part. You’re doing great!”
Saying what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. As simple as it sounds, I consider, what if God really is on our side? What if he wants the best for us and, like a constant companion, is ready to talk over anything I face. It makes me consider the phrase, “Pray continually” from 1 Thessalonians in a different light. It’s not a law. It’s a conversation.
This new life is slowing me down. I’m speaking to a group of students at F&M tonight. I think I’ll walk over… see what the evening looks like.