Season 7 - Week 1
“Even though I walk...”
I live at the top of a hill. From where I live you can see the hustle and bustle of life happening below. It’s a short, familiar walk to the station, to the shops or to see friends who live at the bottom of the hill.
The tree-lined woodland ridge cascades down through the wild meadow, following a meandering path over a grassy hump and past a playground. It’s a lovely walk…going downhill.
On the way back, however, the story changes: the same beautiful hill saps all my energy and I’m focused on every step just to make it to the top. My heart starts pounding and gasping for breath.
When I reach the top, feeling like a bit of a mess, all I can think about is getting home. The meaningful moment has passed; being here, now, is the last place I want to be.
Unlike me, Jesus travelled everywhere on foot. He moved around for all kinds of reasons and probably with different thoughts and attitudes. He walked and crowds followed (like in Mark 10:1); he walked to be alone (Mark 1:35); he walked to be amongst people (like when he called Zaccheus down from the tree in Luke 19). In John 11 he walked to where his friend was sick, and brought him back from the dead. He walked to places in order to heal people, but people also got healed on the journey, like in Matthew 9. Jesus walked with people and changed their whole perspective on life – think of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, think of Saul (even if Jesus wasn’t doing so much walking in that one). He even walked on water (Matthew 14), turning walking itself into a supernatural experience – and one she shared with Peter. He walked with purpose, but he also walked for the sake of the journey itself.
Think about the walking that you do each day, or the way you most often move around. What might it be like to walk with Jesus?
Even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23 vs 4
Reading this verse, it’s easy to focus on the situation, “the valley”, rather than the simple act of faith required – walking. And trusting that Jesus is there with us.
This mostly unthought-of physical act can represent for us a kind of spiritual defiance. In our own struggles, or as we pray for others struggling - with doubt, depression, self-belief, even sickness – simple walking can take on the nature of a prayer. Each step sows a mustard seed of faith. It models a posture of persistence.
The greatest prayers are sometimes the unspoken but physical act of being present.
Peace-makers and blessing-bringers pray without words but with “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). There is something about physical activity that awakens deeper realities. Hope comes while walking in the cool of the day. Unanswered prayers find a home. Unknown prayers find a voice. As you put one foot in front of the other deep calls to deep.
Walking can just be a functional activity, but it can also be more than that: we are made mind, body and spirit, and each walks hand in hand with the other. We don’t just take part of ourselves for a walk. It’s all there, it’s just a matter of intention. The act of walking can be a spiritual practice – and maybe one you could try this week?
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them
How often do you walk places? Do you play music or podcasts to pass the time, or do you take in the view? Walking can feel like a slow way to travel, but maybe that's a positive thing (maybe not always!). What would it be like to imagine Jesus walking with you? What could you talk about?
For your quiet time, reflection or for no reason at all, go for a walk. Try to squeeze in a walk a day this week if you can - you could take walks you already do and put some prayerful intention behind them. Invite the Holy Spirit to be with you and to speak to you. Ask for help in seeing the neighbourhood as God sees it. Pray through whatever's on your mind, or just listen.