He stands and stares at the skyline. Nothing. Not even tumbleweed floating by. Just an inner nudge, an elbow digging into the ribs of his soul, urging him on. If only he could have something he could see. A holy goal, a heavenly city, a divine finishing line. Back where he’s come from folks have tangible gods. Things made from metal and wood, plastic and silicon. Stuff they can hold and clutch and carry, with shape and size. Just like his friends and family used to, so much easier when you can see something. So tempting to replace the invisible, nudging whispering God with something smaller. Something you can pin down and stick a label on. Something you can visit or keep in the cupboard or on the mantelpiece. They’ve been trudging past little clutches of civilization. Folks in tents and caravans and communities. They all have their physical things. Probably don’t think of them as gods but there seems no doubt to him. Things that draw their energy and time and money. Pastimes, possessions, charms, careers, bling. He glances down, feels the sun burning the back of his neck. His shadow makes a vague shape on the ground before him. A smudged silhouette. A kind of cross. He shivers though he’s more than a little warm. Has no idea why.
There’s a loneliness, a dark isolation to all this. It’s clear to him, this call, and the others faithfully follow on, but he’s out front alone. Blazing this trail. They don’t get it, how could they? He wouldn’t blame them for wanting to go back to what’s safe, comfortable, known. He can’t prove to them that they will end up anywhere soon. Just that the journey is home for now. And everyone gets restless travelling, that hankering from deep within, calling to some place of settling. Well this is anything other than settling. The trail is the home. Each new day another step into the unknown. Some of them are getting used to it, and encourage him with their nods and winks. But others are muttering the ‘when will we there’ kind of cry. And that’s unsettling. Leads him to question whether this is just a wild idea. A manufactured hunch.
There are times though when he’s never been surer of anything. A sense deep within him, a presence. More real than anything carved out of wood or stone, anything engineered or crafted. This invisible God. Uncontrollable, can’t be manhandled, can’t be harnessed or measured or weighed, can’t put a price on him. A God beyond any human imagining, yet one choosing to be with him. Constantly. Bidden or unbidden. Sensed or not.
He looks again at that shadow. Shivers once more. It’s like him and yet like something else too. Perhaps the shadow of his God with him. For a moment the lines lengthen, and the cross becomes clearly defined. Then it shrinks again. He walks on.
A little reflection drawing on the call of Abraham. Beginning in Genesis 12.