Today’s reading of the first two chapters of Matthew; the genealogy and birth of Jesus, the visit of the magi followed by the flight to Egypt, and a daily devotional about the things a woman packed when leaving her home before a hurricane made me wonder, “What did Mary and Joseph pack for their hurried expedition to Egypt with the child Jesus?”
What would I pack if I had to flee my home in a hurry? Important documents, Bibles with my notes - pictures – memories – our history. Other “stuff” seems unimportant. Not even our computers (okay, maybe the flash drive with all my commissioning paper work). Would we take one car or both? One, staying together would be more important than saving the car and more stuff. Clothes? Just a few, but definitely good sturdy shoes since we don’t know what lies ahead.
What about our life journeys? What do I need to take with me as I begin CPE? The answers are much the same:
My faith history
-memories of the many times I have felt God’s presence in my life and the times I have known it even when I couldn’t feel it,
-people who have supported me in my faith journey and will continue to do so on this next leg
-the breath prayer that carried me through the decision to quit teaching and attend seminary.
The professional wardrobe I’ve been stressing over this week seems less important now. It is only a vehicle that will allow me to be accepted as a chaplain and do my job. It is not important on its own; only for the function it will serve. Of course, I will need a pair of sturdy shoes.
Somewhere in the world people are fleeing their homes, racing away from natural or human generated danger. Give them strength and courage. In other places, people are returning and struggling to rebuild from destruction. Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isa. 61: 3). Remind those of us who live in safety who and what is important. Keep our hearts and minds from the petty. Keep our focus on you. Amen