06h43, Johannesburg, OR Tambo Airport. Planes all around, ours delayed, fog on the runway. Airports are one of my favourite places to be. The expectancy of an adventure, the life on the move, the privilege of being a pilgrim, it’s all part of the energy between departures and arrivals.
My wife and I took our dogs, the Land Rover and a few essentials on a journey to the Drakensberg Mountains. On our way to our destination we took the fastest possible route. Tar roads all the way, a smooth ride filled with convenience, safety and all things familiar. On our way back we changed the settings of the GPS to dirt roads and detours. We took the road less travelled, the routes on the map marked as “not recommended” and “slippery when wet”. The ride was bumpy, dusty and dirty. The roads were empty and scary. But what an adventure! It took us along the flow of the rivers of the mountain; it showed where the autumn gets its colours from and where the winter gathers the cold. We drove through villages that do not exist and over bridges that still have to be built. The first road was big and wide and easy to drive. The latter was steep and narrow and tough to drive. The one was a no brainer, just a means to an end. The other, a journey that shapes your soul, prepares your heart and bids you fair well with the gift of awe and wonder.
Somewhere someone wrote that being a believer is to be a pilgrim, a stranger on a journey. Jesus’ invitation to his friend was not to commit, subscribe, join or belong, but to follow. It’s a call to take the scenic route, to travel off the beaten track, to get going.
To follow Jesus is to see faith as fluid, hope as change and love as the detour in to the mysteries of life.