This past week (April 25-27) I was able to accompany my wife Linda to Louisville, Ky. She was attending the United Methodist Women’s Assembly. Over 7,000 women from around the world attended. These women gathered, as they do every four years, to hear and repeat the call of Jesus and the prophets for Social Justice. Issues from around the world were spoken of and prayed over. Hearing stories of exploitation, trafficking, hunger and extreme poverty, one cannot help but to be moved. Along with stories and images of desperation was a little positive news of places where God’s love, shown by his followers, is making a difference.
I was not a credentialed attendee, so I could not attend most sessions. I streamed a couple sessions on my laptop in the hotel room. I spent much of my time exploring Louisville (Yes, I found a golf course). Louisville, named for France’s Louis the 16th, is home to much history. I walked the Ohio Riverfront. I saw statues of George Rogers Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, and his slave York, who was critical in the success of that mission. I visited the Mohammad Ali Center. We went by Churchhill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, before we left town.
Being an old county boy, I tend to navigate by maps and my sense of direction. Out in the country, I get around pretty well. But I had some problems in downtown Louisville, most of the streets are one way. I would find myself a block or two from a destination, but the street would be for traffic going the opposite direction. It was frustrating.
It got me to thinking. How often do we run into obstacles that keep us from reaching our goals? I would guess that all of us have experienced not being able to reach a goal, a destination. In Louisville, I was able to get where I wanted to go with a few detours and the help of a couple of kind people willing to give directions.
In our spiritual lives, there is also help for us. We have God’s word, which can be a map for us. We have the voice of the Holy Spirit, which can be our GPS. We have other pilgrims who can share their experience and wisdom and give us direction.
As Paul wrote to the Philippians in Chapter 1:9-11: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (NIV)