This post was written for St Paul’s and St Thomas’ church magazine.
I’m coming towards the end of my time here at St Paul’s and St Thomas’ church after being sent here for three months as part of my vocational journey. Three years ago God pulled me out of a very dark place in my life by a vivid dream that catapulted me from a life of private faith to a formal church setting over a short space of time. From the moment I put my foot through the church door I knew that the Church of England was the place I was meant to be. The missing piece in my life was church, and as I listened to God and asked him if was really sure about all of this, so began a rapid but exciting vocational journey to seek out if he is actually calling me to ordained ministry.
The one thing I’ve noticed so far in my journey, is that the word “journey” is used so often when it comes to talking about faith. Being part of the Christian faith is a journey, a journey in which we walk alongside others who share in the joy of the good news, and share in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ that is given to us by his never ending grace.
Walking together in faith means walking over lots of different terrain. Sometimes the road is as smooth as freshly laid tarmac, sometimes the ground is muddy and it’s easy to slip over and fall, other times the path seems so rocky that it takes a while to figure out a safe route through. I’ve experienced all three of those terrains in my vocational journey. However, in those peaks and troughs there is one constant, our Lord Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Constant prayer is the best equipment to take on this life long journey of faith that we are all on. Prayer helps to signpost our journey together as Christians and enables God to guide and care for us on our way. In prayer we unload our thoughts and deepest feelings to our Heavenly Father who is always there to listen. How lucky we are that no matter how often we raise up our problems, our worries, our wounds, Jesus carries our burdens all the way to the cross. It is there we meet with him in reverence and thanks as we are set free thanks to his ultimate sacrifice.
If I’ve learnt anything so far in my vocational journey, it is to embrace the rough roads with the smooth. Ups and downs are all part of living together as imperfect worshippers and those times of uncertainty and feeling unsteady are perfectly natural and normal. Jesus’ disciples themselves were not perfect, they grumbled with Jesus, fought over who was the greatest, and sometimes struggled to understand what Jesus was teaching them. Whilst walking on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appears and walks unnoticed with two disciples. This story is a great representation of our life long journey of faith. Jesus walks with us, sometimes unnoticed, but as said by the disciples “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road?” He is here within us with every step, he walks slower with us in the rocky terrain and walks quickly as we sail through on the smooth path. Jesus is alive with us and no matter how our journey pans out, we can put all our faith in him.