On Monday Rachel and I went for a walk on Carlton Marshes, a local nature reserve. A muntjac deer ran close by. A buzzard sat on a gatepost; he looked at us as we looked at him. Some paths were very muddy; wellington boots were essential.
Yesterday John and Kate, went to Carlton Marshes and put pictures of their walk (above) on Facebook.
Rachel wrote: ‘I hope you wore your wellies!!!?’ Kate replied: ‘We are fair-weather walkers!! We just turned round when we got to the mud!!’
In 2020 many of us would have preferred to be fair-weather walkers… but we had to walk along muddy paths – whether we were equipped with appropriate footwear or not.
2021 looks as if it will continue to be muddy. Friends working in the NHS and in education look as if the mud already on their path will get deeper.
Jack went into hospital on December 16th. After operations, sepsis and pneumonia he texted last night: ‘I’ve sadly just been tested positive for Covid. Caught it while I’ve been in here. So I’m scared.’ A very muddy path.
Yesterday Ian and I walked by the sea. The Jolly Sailors was open, selling take-away bacon and sausage rolls. It was proving so popular that the police were called to move people on.
Muddy paths converged – a business desperate to keep going, people needing to meet friends, those protecting our community from Covid. The muddy paths of livelihoods, liberties and lives met…
And my Christian muddy-path theology?
- Muddy-paths happen
- Jesus came as the champion muddy-path walker, leaving us an example that we should follow in his footsteps
- God is with us as we walk muddy paths. The good shepherd leads and walks with us in green pastures, beside still waters, through dark valleys… and along muddy paths.
- One day there will be no more tears, pain, death… or muddy paths.
PS: John, Kate, Jack and Ian are real friends – but all with different names