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Saturday Sermon: Life is a journey

By By Ben Sheeran
July 13, 2012 at 2:13 a.m.

Ben Sheeran

I got a GPS for my birthday. A GPS is a device that communicates with satellites orbiting the earth for the purpose of establishing a precise location. These are more effective than maps in that they can give precise instructions as one travels through unfamiliar terrain.

Whether we admit it or not, we all are on a spiritual journey. However, navigating this trip can be more difficult because many are unaware of how to traverse to spiritual maturity, the process is called sanctification.

This process should be ongoing throughout one's life, yet some get to a place of spiritual comfort and ease and remain. This, unfortunately, leads to stagnation and malaise.

Jesus addressed this issue in the parable of the seeds. The passage recorded in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8 tells us seeds were sown in various types of soil. The seed germinated in some soils and began to grow and temptation or the cares of the world kept the small plants from reaching maturity and productivity. The seed that fell in good soil grew and produced fruit.

One of the most common genres of the spiritual journey is that of the quest. One of the most familiar of these is the collection of the grail cycle. First recorded by Cretien de Troyes in the 12th century, these epics told of the story of the cup that was used at the last supper and that collected the blood that dripped from Jesus' wounds.

Because of this it held magical powers. The quest was for King Arthur's knights to obtain the Holy Grail and its power, but the journey was the larger part of the story. As they traveled, they encountered dragons, evil knights and deceptive women with magic.

In the same way, as we travel trough life, we encounter things we cannot comprehend and experience events that can have great significance to us.

As I travel, I like to pay attention to historical markers. These signs indicate that something significant happened nearby. The traveler learns about the area, but it shows the community their importance. These mark a time, place and event that should be remembered.

Our spiritual journey also has historical markers of personal experience. These mark a time and place where we encounter God on a personal level. These should be as holy to us as the burning bush was to Moses and Aldersgate was to John Wesley. It is important to revisit these markers throughout our lives and remember how far we have come.

Landmarks are physical formations that travelers used as guides. On the Oregon Trail one of the most famous was Chimney Rock. This landform in what is now Nebraska indicated the transition of the prairies of the Great Plains into the Rocky Mountains.

Landmarks are stable, visible, trustworthy and spiritually mature. These are those spiritual advisors that can be counted on; parents, your clergy-person and other respected persons one find on their spiritual sojourn.

As we go on our own spiritual quest, we see our historical markers and use spiritual landmarks, we are like Abraham in Hebrews 11, we are seeking a city whose architect and builder is God.

Ben Sheeran is an area retired pastor.

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