Faith - My Camino - Pace of Grace

this is why we train

The cool North Country morning proved perfect for an inaugural training trek. This outing was of utmost importance for shared aspirations on the Camino. Bearing weighted packs; adjusting poles; lacing boots; placing one foot in front of the other, we began to do what needs doing.

The Hubs and I have never been more than casual hikers. This first trek we were looking for quick confidence gains on gear fit and feasibility. We’ve far to go; four more months of training. Along the way, we’ll prove ourselves to ourselves: we can do this.

That hour or so early in the damp, in rhythm with creation, was heavy in pack but light in heart. Snippets of trail-life encouraged us on. Songbirds flittering, searching breakfast; the runny babbit startled from grazing; a trio of turkeys, roused from roosting; a bullfrog quartet reverberating in chorus; fossil markings on white rock breaking the surface; beaver activity at inlet’s edge dredging the soft earth.

With marvels such as these underfoot, what wonders might reveal around the next bend?

I stopped several times; the Hubs did, too. Our riverfront has become his work-it-out place. By bramble or scramble, he’s tamed the property into a personal vision. He pointed out a fresh patch of earth, reclaimed from brush. Last year’s sluice, making this part of the trail passible in spring. An animal trail running to the river.

(Deer, I confirmed. Sometimes I startle them there, on their morning drink.)

Meanwhile, I was stopping to make adjustments. Gear that seemed perfect in the store wasn’t, quite. My right hand tingled; my left foot ached; my shoulders strained from bearing too much weight. Every tweak brought quick relief and nudged my confidence needle North. Trudging through meadows soggy with dew, I was grateful my cute boots proved waterproof, too.

After awhile, I hardly noticed the weight of my pack or rivulets of sweat running down my back. It took more than an hour on the uneven terrain of rough-cut riverfront trails, looping each meadow twice, to hit our target (5K). We didn’t make great time; we weren’t trying to, walking at the perfect pace.

Walking is the way we keep pace with a three-mile-an-hour God. It is God speed. We walk with a God who seems in no particular hurry and who, it seems, enjoys the going there as much as the getting there. … (T)he God who, incarnate in Jesus, turns to us as He passes by — on foot, always on foot — and says, simply and subversively, ‘Come, follow me.’ Come, walk with me.

Mark Buchanan, God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul (2020, Zondervan Books)

Among all of creation, only humans were designed and called to walk with God. People like Adam and Eve; Noah and Enoch; the patriarchs and matriarchs; our heroes in the Hall of Faith. Moreover, people like you and me.

We are called to walk in all of His ways, to live well and long on the earth. To walk under the light of His Word. To walk by faith, not by sight. To walk in the Spirit. To walk honestly. To walk in good works. To walk rightly. Walking with God is a big deal.*

Not for nothing, scholars estimate Jesus, God in the flesh, walked 10 to 20 miles a day! Jesus was on a rescue mission, walking out His kingdom-come, thy-will-be-done calling.

As we move through life, we can’t help but embody faith in all the places God calls us to. That’s this good body doing what it’s supposed to do. We’re intended to become like His hands and feet; loving our neighbors; serving the least, the last, the lost.^

Sometimes we gain a glimpse of His kingdom on earth, as in heaven. That kingdom is the end goal for the ultimate love-paced race. This is why we train — bodies, minds, hearts — walking with God. We train to be fit for kingdom-living.

I’m inspired by the thought, as Buchanan goes on to say, that we walk at the speed of our soul. Surely this is the essence of the pace of grace. Set aside the to-do list. Stop striving; don’t compete. Take time to observe. You’ve breath enough to speak, and heart-space to breathe deep.

Do you feel a little lighter at even the thought of such a walk? Me, too.

I found Buchanan’s God Walk an exquisite read. I didn’t want to put it down. I didn’t want it to end. I’m already ready to read it again. Listen in on this interview with the author, “Walking at the Speed of Love” to be likewise inspired. (Revelation Wellness podcast episode #901)

Perhaps you’re ready to embark on your own love-paced race? I hope you do.

Brothers (and sisters), I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

~ Sincerely, Sondra

* c.f. Hebrews 11; Genesis 3:8, 5;22,24, 6:9; Deuteronomy 5:33; Psalm 119:105; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:16; Romans 13:13; Isaiah 30:21.

^ e.g. Mark 12, Matthew 22 (The Greatest Commandment); Luke 10 (The Good Samaritan); Matthew 25 (The Sheep and Goats)

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