And the King will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40 NRSV)
This photo of son Benjamin captures a moment in time during our walking holiday-spiritual adventure along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in Wales, U.K.
Most of the time, Ben and I take turns leading and following along the trail. As I recall on this day, we had decided to look for a small village pub for lunch. Ben was ahead of me and as I caught up to him, he seemed deep in thought. This is not unusual for Ben or me or members of my family. We are wired that way - to think in a contemplative and quiet way.
But this moment made me pull out the phone camera and collect a keepsake of my son. To say I am proud of him would be an understatement. To say how much it meant for me and Laura to have Ben on this adventure - well words are not enough.
As I write this mid-week post to circulate among friends Along the Way, I am reminded of the importance of relationships in my life. I prioritize these relationships in the order of family, faith, and fiesta. Simple really, not my own philosophy, just one that makes sense. The persons I hold dear are my family, my faith community, and my friends who share a passion for life. I don't have to think about this too much. It is what it is...as they say.
And then there are "others" Along the Way with whom I come in contact for a moment, a season, or a crisis. These are the people with whom I am truly blessed as a pastor. I appreciate the parable that Jesus uses (find it in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25) to teach his followers (and us) about relationships. We hear that when we treat one of these persons, the "other" person who may not make it on our family, faith, and fiesta team, as we would treat Jesus if we were to meet in person - we then become part of the family of the people of God.
I pray for encounters with folks as my family meets the new congregation and community in which we now live and serve. I also pray for encounters with others. And in the encounter, may there be much love and many blessings for all.
I hope you have a great week and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, if not before...
Along the Way
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend