Oak Hill Hikers had its first hike this past Saturday. We hiked at the unfinished Fonta Flora Trail. We had five people. A sixth grader, a twenty-something, and two people over sixty. We hiked 6.5 miles. The temperature began around 72° F and ended at around 88° F. It was a good time, with a break for some to jump in the lake. When we reached the overlook on the lake, we took time to have a devotion and reflect. Each month, I hope to provide a rough outline of my devotion for the event. This months devotion was focused on the notion of “unfinished trails.”
I think it’s rather neat that for our first hike as a group we begin with an unfinished trail. This trail won’t be finished for years. Parts of the trail we walked on today are not blazed. We aren’t sitting on benches because they haven’t been installed yet, but you can see when they will sit.
The whole of scripture seems to be about unfinishedness. Books end with stories unfinished. New commissions and commands are given in the last verses. Even when all seems lost, visions of the future are offered. At the end of each gospel, Jesus gives some sort of assignment or promise. In Matthew, he instructs the disciples go and Baptize the whole world. In the end of Mark, the angel tells the women to go and tell the disciples about Jesus’s return (while they don’t go and tell, we know the story continues). Jesus promises to send “the helper” at the End of Luke. He instructs Peter to feed his sheep as John is wrapping up.
One of my favorite stories of unfinished comes at the resurrection in the gospel of John:
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look[a] into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,[b] “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Jesus says to not “hold on to me.” He’s not finished. He doesn’t want Mary to hold on to what was, expecting everything to stay the same, for history to stop. Instead, Jesus is letting her know that there is more to come.
Just like on these trails, there is more to come. This trail isn’t finished. As Christians, and as Methodists, we believe our trails are unfinished. We continue to journey further into God’s love from birth. Throughout our life, into salvation, and beyond we continue to journey. Wesley even believed that we continue to journey deeper into our faith into our next life.
As we think about the unfinished nature of our lives, take time to think and reflect on what is next on the trail of your life. Share as you are able.
Close in prayer. I used “A Hiking Prayer” from here.
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