I’m traveling again.
Traveling does more than jolt you out of your daily routine; it reveals the real you.
When you travel, you live and move as a stranger among strangers. Your usual frames of reference do not apply: not knowing anyone and not being known by anyone frees you from adhering to expected behaviors and from expecting certain behaviors from others.
It’s like a cleansing of your behavioral palate, a resetting back to default.
Jesus traveled a lot. He was born a traveler and kept traveling as a toddler and a pre-teen. Prior to and during his ministry years, he never stopped traveling.
Just like God.
God is always on the move. Through his spirit, which can be in a nearly infinite number of times and places at once, God stays in perpetual motion while in the finite realm. In Heaven, God is usually depicted as seated on a throne, but there is something about the colourful glow and “clouds” around his throne that hint at the presence of an all-powerful celestial motor revving and throbbing with an as-yet-unknown-to-us energy source.
Yes, I could very well see God on a Harley. If he can manifest as a burning bush, he can just as easily make a cameo appearance rumbling through time and space as a biker.
The more God moves, the more he reveals himself to us.
The more we move, the more we reveal ourselves to him.
It is not in times of complacency and predictability that we reveal ourselves, but in lightning-fast responses to unanticipated events. Such events are more likely to occur where we are strangers than where we are known.
Jesus was perpetually jolted out of his daily routine through choosing the life of a preacher. By definition, a preacher must travel (“go ye into all the world and preach the Good News”), and in so doing remain a perpetual stranger continually resetting to default behavior, continually grounded in the real rather than the contrived. For Jesus, his life in Nazareth, as exemplified by his mother and brethren showing up in Capernaum to try to drag him back to it, was a contrivance that he discarded as soon as he realized his ministry had officially begun. Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Preacher – these were not new versions of Jesus the Carpenter but the real version of him, just as a butterfly that emerges from a cocoon is not a new version of a caterpillar but the real version of the butterfly that had remained hidden within the crawling insect and the stationary chrysalis. When it emerges, a butterfly doesn’t wonder why it’s no longer a caterpillar but instead rejoices that it is finally free to be what it always was.
Like a spiritual butterfly, I now flit from place to place. I am free to be what I knew I was but couldn’t be around those who preferred other versions of me. Jesus couldn’t return to Nazareth and be who he really was. As born-agains, we are all spiritual butterflies emerging from our own Nazareths, occasionally being called back by those who prefer the more sluggish and stationary versions of us that better fit their world view.
Don’t give into them.
A butterfly cannot become a caterpillar again any more than it can lay dormant in a cocoon.
Spiritual butterflies must move, like Jesus, like God, perpetually on the move and keeping true to who they really are not in the eyes of the world but in the eyes of God.