By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
Have you ever used your phone to find directions to some new restaurant or avoid traffic? What about logging your miles on a walk or your steps towards the often-elusive goal of 10,000 steps a day?
From things as simple as telling time on your phone or computer to things as complex as self-driving cars, these modern necessities and luxuries are all powered by something most people these days take for granted: the Global Positioning System (GPS).
Do you remember the first time that you used a GPS? The first time I used one was a number of years ago when in Los Angeles for a work conference. Don’t ask me how this happened, but somehow, I missed our exit; even with the voice on the GPS singing out when and where to turn.
There I was, on a 16-lane highway headed to LAX airport with my exit ramp getting smaller by the minute in my rear-view mirror, and all my GPS could say after a series of “recalculating … recalculating … was “when safe to do so, make a legal U-turn”. In that moment I will be honest, I felt let down by my GPS, but the truth is, I had not been listening. For as most of us know, distractions abound, and so listening can be quite challenging at different times of our lives particularly when navigating previously uncharted territories.
I once heard it expressed that we are all hard wired with a different kind of GPS, a God positioning system… And once we realize this, our central task as Christians is to spend our lives learning to listen and respond to it.
We stay connected to God by spending time with God in worship, in God’s word and in prayer. As we give ourselves to these practices, we learn to listen and “follow directions”. If we get off course, if we are wise, we will listen again, perhaps a little more intentionally this time, for the “re-calculating … recalculating”. If at any point we “miss our exit”, and we will miss our exit from time to time, we return to the listening, even when all the future twists and turns may still be a mystery.
Shortly we will begin our Lenten Journey with an aim to observing a holy Lent. Ash Wednesday will remind us of the importance of both listening and of how valuable, even if not always pleasant, all those twists and turns are in our lives. One thing is certain. While it may not feel it in the moment, God is there in all of them, giving us opportunities time and again to practice our listening and to respond.
Over the course of the last number of years that EfM has been in Huron, many have connected with an EfM group to spend time each week learning, listening, and responding together.
Perhaps this is something you or your parish would like to explore? Companions on the road are a real blessing to be sure.
To learn more, you are always welcome to reach out to either Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator, or me, Val Kenyon, at EFM@huron.anglican.ca
Rev. Canon Dr. Val Kenyon is EFM Animator in Huron.