By David McEntire
First UMC, Lakeland, FL
First, read Ephesians 5:2
In 1967 I was 12 years old, living in Orleans, France and was attending the American school located on the U.S. Army base. That year the 6th grade teachers created a unique opportunity for the students; 18 days of school and skiing in the French Alps. I was excited and along with 74 other 6th graders found that January filled with excitement, opportunity and challenge. I had skied once before in the Bavarian Alps, but had never ventured off the beginner slopes.
We arrived in village of Chamrousse and found ourselves housed in beautiful, snow covered mountain chalets. The next morning we were divided into groups, each group assigned a French ski instructor who would spend 4 hours teaching us everyday for two weeks. The question was asked, “have any of you ever skied before?” Ten of us raised our hands and were informed that we were now in the “advanced” group.
The advanced group went higher and farther than any other group. We bypassed the “beginner” slopes, heading for the more challenging intermediate slopes with the promise of skiing on the advanced slopes in our last few days. We were scared and thrilled. Finally, the day came for the ascent to the advanced slope. This consisted of riding several ski lifts and using several tow ropes to reach the highest point of the ski run.
During the ascent, holding onto a tow rope, the student in front of me fell, eventually toppling me and the student behind me. We scrambled to the side of the tow track to avoid knocking down others in our group and waited for the ski teacher who was at the end. When she passed the spot where stood waiting she quickly instructed us, “walk toward the tree line and look for the ski trail. We will find you there in about an hour. Do not walk in any other direction or you will be lost and we will miss you.”
With those words she was gone, being towed to the top of the mountain with the rest of the group. The three of us debated what to do. It seemed apparent that we could make our own way back to the base of the ski run, but she had been clear, “do not walk in any other direction!” We heeded her advice and in about an hour she and the group appeared through the snow and fog. No one was lost and before long we were sipping hot chocolate in the chalet.
I have often thought about the instructors words, how we avoided being lost by walking the way she instructed. The writer of Ephesians reminds us to walk a certain way, “in the way of love.”
During the season of Lent we see that obedience in the life of Christ. He turned his face toward Jerusalem, though other ways may have seemed easier, less deadly. He walked with intention to bring our salvation and became our hope. God has given us a “way” to walk, loving as He loved us, pointing others to the grace which Christ offers all people.
To walk another way is to lose the pathway of grace. As we walk in the way of love, we becomes vessels of God’s love, poured into the lives of those who are having a hard time finding their way. We are called to walk in the way of love.
Prayer: Lord you came to show me the way, the truth and the life. Be patient with me when I wander away from your path. Lead me back into the paths of righteousness so that I might experience and share the joy of your love. In your holy name I pray, Amen.
- In what way(s) have you wandered from the path, which the writer of Ephesians calls “the way of love?”
- Who or what is guiding your life and what would you need to do to change that influence if Jesus is not the one directing your paths? What do you need to do to strengthen God’s guidance and influence in your life?
- In what ways has Jesus shaped your walk? Can you name persons or events which you can see as evidence of God leading you in the way of love?