There’s a good amount of excitement and anticipation for most of us, when packing for a trip. Two weeks ago, as I readied myself for this cruise on the Baltic Sea, I brought along some apprehension and a balky knee. Not my usual traveling companions when Jud and I journeyed as one.
As I pack up for my flight home tomorrow from Bergen, my suitcase weighs slightly more, due to a few souvenirs from faraway places. I tried not to get my money’s worth at mealtime so hopefully, will not return heavier. Judy remarked that I’m standing straighter with the cane. Taller’s better. As for the apprehension, that’s been replaced with a boatload of memories, postcards of the heart, which is good since my camera failed. Thankfully, Judy has a great eye and camera, to match.
Despite my Scandinavian heritage, I’m not much of a brooder, more of a ponderer. To linger long on what might have been seems to squander this day. If I have any regrets or laments, I’ll leave them behind.
My overall impression is of a world that longs for more.
Not temporal stuff, though some still wish for basics, but an even deeper need to be all we’re meant to be in this one small dash of life. A longing to belong, to have the basics, then be blessed with purpose and significance, meaningful relationships, hoped for blessings for our children and grandchildren, as well.
So many museum churches continue to remind me that the church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, not buildings. Even though I’ve heard more than I care to count, we’re not religious so much, I’ve sensed God’s presence as we walked about cities and small towns, even on the cruise ship through a chance meeting with Ken and Carol.
This morning I read in Mark 2 that Jesus was “having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers.” Which, for me, is one of the great blessings of travel. It expands my view of who are the daring followers of Jesus, sometimes disguised as disreputable guests.
Today when we toured the Stave church in Bergen, our guide pointed out a small opening in the outside wall, near the altar, like a wee window. This was for the lepers. They couldn’t come inside the church but could listen outside.
Part of the wonderful grace of Jesus, is there’s a place inside for all of us lepers.
If I bring home nothing else, that will be more than enough.
Best of all, it is and always has been, duty free.
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