April Pastor Letter: Anticipating the Blessings of Fellowship
April 8, 2021 | Steven Walker
Some years ago I headed down to the Knobstone Trail with a buddy of mine. This is the longest footpath in Indiana coming in at 46 miles with a loop at the northern end that extends it another 10. We started near Deem Lake and made the trek north by northwest, which terminates at Delany Park just north of Salem, Indiana.
We had great weather for our short hike which included two, half days, and one whole day in the middle. That meant we had a lot of hiking to do. Starting at noon we knocked off 13.5 miles the first day. The second we managed 20 miles. And the third day we hiked out by 1:00 pm at 12.5 miles. Needless to say it was a challenge.
While we don’t have mountains here in Indiana we do have some big hills and the Knobstone took every opportunity at scaling them. Mostly, straight up, no switchbacks. One trail expert claims there are some 10,000 feet in elevation change through the length of the trail.
It was very early spring so the wooded trail looked rather bleak with no foliage and color. That coupled with a strenuous hike made for an unpleasant experience for my friend and me. We spent so much time each day trudging on that we had little time to stop, enjoy what the scenery there was and chat with one another.
After our trip we debriefed. We missed something on this hike. The physical change was present but the fellowship absent. Hiking is not just about getting away, or the physical exertion, but about sitting around the campfire at the end of the day talking and joking. It is about stopping
and pondering, perhaps even taking an occasional side trail just to see what is at the end. It is about resting together at a stream crossing or a ridge knoll. But for our trip that could not be, not in the time allotted. We had to keep moving, days long and nights short.
We did it, but we missed out. Lesson learned. It is about the fellowship and the opportunity to pause, to take a needed break and to move unhurriedly. Perhaps this is a lesson for life.
This season of pandemic has been a challenge. It is almost the opposite of my back-packing story in which we moved so quickly that we lost time for fellowship. In the pandemic we have been stopped, hunkered down, and isolated. But similar to my backpacking story in that each resulted in lack of fellowship.
Perhaps one of the best lessons to take from this difficult pandemic journey is that we will double down on getting out and getting involved and engage in being with and knowing better one another. When the time is right we will make a renewed effort at prioritizing time together in fellowship.
Matt. 11:29 (The Message)
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of
grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Rev. Steven Walker