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Discipleship Blog

Destination vs. Orientation

Auburn Wesley

Today's post comes from Anna Grace Glaize!  Shalom!! 

We're in Jerusalem!!! My little introvert head is overwhelmed by all the people and things, but my heart is so full. Our group's the best, and I love it. The pun game is strong. 

Here's an update on what we've done so far--Today we did the Herodion, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the Israel Museum. Yesterday we did a hike to Montford Fortress and stopped by Caesarea Maritima on the way from Galilee to Jerusalem.

Messy Thinky Things--There have been a couple of themes that keep coming up during this trip. One of the things we keep coming back to is the problem with viewing the end goal of discipleship as destination instead of orientation. Lots of times we think of discipleship as a trek to somewhere as opposed to looking at it as a reorienting toward God no matter where we are. That distinction has been especially important for us as we go to all these sites, some of which are physically demanding. Though we've talked about it a lot, I'm just now beginning to realize how much the whole destination mindset has impacted me.

I think I finally started to see the difference just after the Montford hike. During the hike, there was a moment when it became clear that not everyone who wanted to would make it to the fortress at the top. It wasn't anyone's fault. We were short on time, the drive was longer than we thought, etc. Some of the folks behind me on the hike just wouldn't have enough time to go all the way to the fortress.

Still, it felt wrong.

We're in this thing together, and going some place where a few of our fellow pilgrims couldn't go upset me. Like I said, it was nobody's fault, but I was angry at the situation. It wasn't until a few hours later on the bus that it fully sunk in that the point of what we were doing wasn't to get to the top. The point was the doing. We all had a chance to walk with each other in a pretty place. We all had the chance to experience the journey. Those of us who got to the fortress had fun, but so did the folks who got an extra 30 minutes to sit at a picnic table and talk. There was no destination, per se.

It was about doing the thing together, even if the doing part looked different for each of us. The goal wasn't the destination, but the reorienting of ourselves to one another and the experience.

Later on the bus we talked about how the same was true with God. There's no special place we have to get to as disciples. God is with us, and all we have to do is position ourselves toward him. 

Part of why this is on my mind so much is because it seemed so trivial initially. I mean, we all got told in middle school that it's all about the journey and not the destination. Still, though, sometimes the world sends a different message. It kind of seems like to be worthwhile you have to be the best at something.

I think a small part of me believes that if I'm not the best I suck, and--just to be clear--I'm really not the best at anything. I'm starting to realize that's the destination part of my mind at work. What a graceless way to view the world. Thankfully we don't have to depend on our messed-up selves to get us to God.

Instead, we have a God who finds us.

Hallelujah for that.