One of the ways we may think about the Christian life is to see it as a journey. Consider the historical figures whose journeys are recorded in Scripture, each narrative as instructive as the next. First there is Abraham who, in faith, leaves his ancestral home for a place God will give him. Then, of course, is the Israelites’ 40-year-sojourn through the desert, an epic journey that begins dramatically with one generation and ends just as spectacularly with the next. There is Ruth, who follows her mother-in-law into an unknown future; David, whose journey begins as a shepherd and ends as an honorable-then-fallen-then-restored king; and Daniel, whose journey as an exile-turned-executive-advisor is recorded in one of the Bible’s most cryptic books, named for the stalwart sojourner, himself.
And that’s just the beginning. Scripture gives us innumerable accounts of pilgrims, traveling to and from and here to there: journeys up the harsh mountain, down the dark valley, through the threatening waters, or along the rocky road. The “way” of the Biblical sojourner often is fraught with uncertainty, but the point of these historical accounts in both the Old and New Testaments can hardly be missed: God is on the road, too, and He provides in the midst of the perilous way.
Indeed, as Christ’s journey to the cross has accomplished, He is the provision, Himself.
It is this “way”––this journey––and that gracious Provision that is the organizing theme of our collective contemplation this year at RCLS. As is our tradition, we have adopted a visual representation of the theme, a logo that is printed on t-shirts and banners around the school. Mrs. Kelly Hicks, the logo’s designer and a current RCLS mom (and former student), shared her inspiration with us:
“While I was considering the design for this year,” she explains, “[Hebrews 12:1-2] reminded me that in life we go through highs and lows. I drew the different landscapes in the logo to represent those different seasons in life.”
Water, woods, waves of grain: these are the creative representations of events and stages in our lives that may or may not be particularly pleasant, but even these are not the outstanding feature of the design. Instead, it is the “way” that draws the eye: a winding but sure path to the victorious, illuminated cross that crowns the image.
“I put the path in the middle leading to the cross to show that through it all, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus,” explains Kelly. That is the crux of our selected Hebrews passage, Kelly contends: not the uncertainty of our circumstances, but instead, the determination to “run the race” that has already been won for us. To fix our eyes on Jesus is to look to that tragic-turned-triumphant moment in time when Jesus ran ahead of us to make the Way––and then to follow Him in it, rough seas or terrain, there may be.
Kelly notes that the unknown can be disconcerting, and she hopes the image and the truth it represents will serve as a reminder “to continually focus on the Lord through life’s difficulties.” After all, we have the certainty that Christ has already done the work to “make our faith complete”––to make it mature, effective, whole. This, in turn, makes us whole.
We, like our Biblical fathers and mothers, “belong to the Way” (Acts 9:2). We, too, pass through the waters on occasion and find ourselves short of breath for the climb at others. Thinking of the Christian life as a journey offers us a helpful way of visualizing the life of faith, particularly so, perhaps, when the journey is not quite what we expect.
And 2020 is not quite what we expected, yes?
Speaking of expectations, Kelly insists that we consider that the journey is full of surprises, but those surprises are not always so difficult to bear.
“During this pandemic,” she says, “I found out I was pregnant with our third. Beautiful blessings can coexist with hard situations.” This is what it is to be on the Journey. “I think that’s the perfect image for the start of this school year,” she adds––a year more collectively difficult than most, to be sure, but one that gives us opportunity to enjoy the surprising blessings as we run.
May we enjoy the beauty that God has for us this year. May we run the race well. Eyes on Jesus, RCLS. He has made the Way before you.
We rejoice with Kelly and Dustin and their two boys, RCLS Lower-elementary Bobcats Jack and Liam. Beautiful blessings, indeed!
RCLS is so grateful to Mrs. Hicks and her remarkably inspired talent to visualize spiritual encouragement for us once again. We love her thoughtfulness and commitment to being a beautiful blessing to our school community. You can find Kelly at https://kellyhicksdesign.com/.
If you’d like to learn more about the journeys the Bible records, join us virtually for Chapel each Wednesday morning at 8am in the “RCLS Morning Announcements Group” at https://www.facebook.com/RochesterCentralLutheranSchool. Be encouraged on the Way with us!