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The Jerusalem Mile

** I'm away this weekend on retreat at Richmond Hill with most of the Junior class from VTS. **

This morning, I walked the Jerusalem Mile at Richmond Hill.  I had longed to return here to traverse the labyrinth, but life always seemed to get in the way.  I am happy to be here now and to have walked that hallowed path today.  There was one other already on the Path when I approached and prepared to enter. Thankfully, the rain had ceased so we could walk in the refreshing coolness of the morning.  The moving forward, slowly, one step at a time, reminded me of wilderness walking I had done as I tried to discern God's Call to what and where next I should go.  As I wound my way along the MIle, I could sometimes see where I came from and where I was headed, but turns came which I gently and carefully navigated to make my way forward.  Calm and peace began to descend upon me and envelope me. Finally, D and I met each other on the path - he going out with me coming in.  We silently bowed to one another and I stepped to the side to let him pass.  After a few moments, I sensed he had gone and that it was just me and God.  God was waiting, watching, hoping, seeking to abide with me as I longed to abide with God.  I still noticed turns in the path, and the discoloration of the paving stones where the path was wet and darkened, but I pushed through and continued on to the center of the labyrinth.

When I reached the center, first I noticed the two stones shaped like hearts on each side of the opening to the center.  I thought of Heart Of My Heart, missing her.  This is the second weekend in a row where we'd been much of the time apart from one another.  There was purpose and accomplishment each time.  She helped the youth of Grace build a handicap ramp at the neighborhood half-way home for women.  There is purpose now as the Junior Class seeks to engage in Community with Jesus and one another.  I paused before stepping to the center stone.  I thanked God for welcoming and leading me, for guiding and directing me, for guarding and protecting me.  I stopped to bask in God's Glory and to seek the Lord's Blessing.  It was quiet and still and peaceful.  What a joy and comfort to be held in the arms of God's loving embrace.

Then it was time to move on, make way, and get to it.  I started my way back, still noticing the darker parts of the path in contrast to the lighter, brighter portions.  I was conscious of balance and the muscles it took to navigate the hairpin turns on the Mile.  I kept thinking "Slow's the way to go."  No need to hurry.  Lord knows the path I am walking continually has demonstrated "In God's Time and not in my own."  The three rows of stones for the path are laid out such that the middle stone is a half-step ahead of those on each side.  As I walked along and focused on the path, the stones themselves seemed to bid me forward.  As I turned and walked, I would see the end before me but then turn back toward the center that sent me.  It was then that I remembered that Jesus did most of his ministry "on the Way."  Sometimes he went somewhere specific and stop to teach some lesson or perform some sign or work, but many times Christ ministered along the path between points A & B.  

As I turned one final time to see the last straight path leading me back out into the world, I thanked God for His presence and blessing.  As I moved away from the Mile, another journeyman approached.  We looked at one another, smiled and bowed.  My brother in Christ making his way.  God waits for him as He sends me out.  Soothed, Refreshed, Restored.