“Went,” Jesus went to Nazareth, his hometown, to stand up and read and read his mission statement. He sat down and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16, 21) Today we are going and by next week can say we went. I envision Jesus walking along dusty roads that were familiar to him from childhood, perhaps the road he walked at age 13 on a trip to Jerusalem where he got separated from his parents because he stayed behind talking to the rabbis. We are not going to our hometown but to a familiar airport, Orlando. We go not to preach but to see a beloved daughter. We too have a mission as our daughter is soon moving to Canada to be an assistant bishop.

Like Nazareth, Orlando is a ethnic hub with people from all over going to Disney World and vacation. Nazareth was in Galillee, northern Israel that was a very international area. I’m sure because of Covid, we will be masked and checked and double checked for safety. I doubt Jesus had checks although there might have been Roman stations to keep peace and observe visitors. Instead of airplanes, I imagine donkeys and horses and walkers along the roads and travelers carrying burdens, not rolling suitcases racing to meet waiting cars or transport. How different and yet how similar our worlds are.

“Going”, as I am preparing to do now is facing forward but “went” faces backwards. Today we stand between “going” and “went.” Tomorrow we will look back on today. The challenges and tasks that loomed so large on the horizon will become part of our narrative. I do not know the journeys you will face today but it is a comfort to me that I have a God who traveled as I will today, who understands the thoughts and anticipations that swirl in the mind, and who does not tire of helping us face the future. For sure I can use the Swahili farewell (go well), “Kwa heri!” (go with blessing) on your journeys today for Christ goes with you on whatever your mission.

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