On a Journey with Jesus

A sermon by Pastor Michael Pahl on September 9, 2018, called “On a Journey with Jesus.” The sermon is the first in a series exploring our church vision and mission statements.

Here is a written excerpt from the introduction:

I love road trips—whether it’s a short trip like the one our family took to Gimli recently, or a longer one like the epic road trip we took last summer to Montreal.

I love that feeling when the van is packed, the family’s all in, and we head out on the open road. We’ve got a destination in mind, a place we want to get to by the end of the day, that ultimate destination a few days down the road.

But a road trip isn’t just about the destination. It’s also about the journey, the things we’ll see and experience along the way—both the much-anticipated and the surprising. When you start off on a road trip, the whole world seems laid out before you, inviting you to adventure.

Of course, that’s the beginning of the road trip. Everyone’s eager. Everyone’s well-rested and well-fed. Everyone’s got their space and no one else’s stuff is encroaching on it. But by lunchtime on the first day reality sets in: we’ve got 20 more hours of this. Groans and complaints, major and minor, start filling the cramped space among us.

And, of course, the road trip never goes as planned. Even assuming you safely arrive at your chosen destinations along the way and the big one at the end, you’re still guaranteed to have had some unforeseen bumps along the road. Like locking your keys in the van at a remote provincial park and waiting hours for the tow truck to come—while a thunderstorm bears down on you as you huddle together in your bathing suits. Yep.

Still, on a family road trip we stick together, we problem solve together, and in spite of all the expected difficulties and unanticipated problems along the way, the end result is a journey to remember, an experience that has changed us for the better.

There’s a reason why we often picture life as a journey. The idea of moving toward a destination, facing difficult challenges and overcoming unforeseen obstacles, sharing both sorrows and joys along the way, being shaped profoundly by the whole experience—it’s a compelling metaphor for our lives.

It’s also a compelling metaphor for our life together as a church—which is why some years ago Morden Mennonite Church decided to use that metaphor to describe our mission as a church: “We are on a journey with Jesus toward greater peace, greater witness, and greater service.”

We are on a journey with Jesus. We are “moving toward a destination”—greater peace, greater witness, and greater service. And together we are “facing difficult challenges and overcoming unforeseen obstacles, sharing both sorrows and joys along the way, being shaped profoundly by the whole experience.” This is the journey of faith, our journey as a church together.

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