We enter the season of Lent, moving together on a significant pilgrimage. We journey 137 miles with Jesus, from Mt. Hermon (the Mountain of Transfiguration) to Jerusalem. As religious historian Donald Heinz put it, “We are all on a pilgrimage, which is a root metaphor for Christ’s direction and his followers re-direction. Early Christianity understood the Christian life as a travel narrative, a lifelong journey toward God… In Christian devotional practice, pilgrimage is an attitude as well as a journey, a disposition to seek and to find. This is the heart of [Lent and Easter.] It is less going back in time than going down to the depths of religious meaning, to the crossroads where God, who seeks the world and humans, who seek God, embrace..”

For us, this pilgrimage will be a journey towards Jerusalem, the city of destiny for Jesus. It is here he will face his Passion and the cross, the terrible crucifixion and the world-shattering resurrection. It will be a journey of faith as we look closely at the teachings and parables of Jesus shared along this road of discovery. It will be a journey that enables us to more fully live as disciples of Jesus Christ.

We begin this Sunday with a look at the parable of the Good Samaritan, perhaps among the most well known of Jesus’ teachings. We are invited to make a journey from fear to love, from avoiding the pain and suffering of others to being agents of God’s compassion and grace. We are invited by Jesus to make a significant move, to cross those barriers of fear and distrust that separate us and make it easy to avoid people we disparage, or who we consider enemies. The parable was scandalous in Jesus’ time, and confonts us with the opening question, “Who is my neighbor?” Join us in worship as we begin to move together, towards Jerusalem. We travel in the company of Christ who helps us leave our fears so we can worship God who reconciles friends and enemies, neighbors and adversaries, helping us to cross the most difficult boundaries in life.

Senior Pastor Dave Summers
Paradise Valley United Methodist Church
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