Preparing For Worship – John Kelly, pastoral resident
A couple of months ago, the Washington Post published a feature highlighting the often bottom-of-mind women and men who’ve designed and maintained the hundreds of thousands of miles of hiking trails many Americans across the country use and enjoy. The piece — headlined “On your next hike, spare a thought for the trail builders who made it possible” — relays conversations with a range of National Park Services workers, trail designers, and hikers, all of whom embody great respect for not only the environments in which they work, but also the adventurers who enjoy the fruits of their labors.
While those interviewed seem to have nothing but love and passion for their jobs, they also highlight the difficulties that come with blazing paths where none have existed before. While trail makers have to make sure to maximize the users’ experiences, they must also guard the biological integrity of the often fragile ecosystems through which such users tread. All in all, a trail maker wants to lead others on an appreciative, potentially transformative journey, all while seeing to the sustainability of the naturally beautiful environments being appreciated.
This Sunday, with the commemoration of All Saints Day, we remember not only those in our lives who have passed away over the last twelve months, but also all “saints” who have blazed the metaphorical trails we travel as a community shaped by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. We remember and celebrate the host of trailblazers who have gone before us, those who have modeled what it looks like to follow Jesus through wild, beautiful places.
The Julian of Norwiches. The Martin Luther King, Juniors. The Augustines. The Dorothy Days.
This Sunday, we stop to recognize that the faith journey our community travels did not begin with us. We’re encouraged by our remembrance of a “host of witnesses” to hope that neither will it end when our time on the trail, as it were, comes to an end. Though we might feel like wanderers lost in the woods, today, as we come together to worship God, the heritage of our faith reminds us that we don’t wander alone.