Getting Walking, (Advent thought #2)
I think we all know walking is really good for you. The NHS say, 'Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.' They have quite a comprehensive advice page on getting walking for healthy living.
Over Christmas families often take a walk together and the social aspect of walking can be incredible. There can be something uplifting about walking side by side and many people find they don't even need to say anything!
As a child I was taken on walking holidays and was not the most willing holiday maker. But over the past few years I have learnt to love walking, partly because Ramsay our dog goes mad if I don't take him out.
So no surprise that walking is a big theme in the Bible. This has been great for me to chew over:
Genesis 3:8 The Lord God comes walking in the garden to look for Adam and Eve. We are told that they hide from him because of their shame, but I am often left wondering if they usually walked with the Lord and enjoyed fellowship. Imagine strolling around Eden with the Lord!
Leviticus 26:12, the Lord says, 'I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my people.' This was a promise for Israel, but didn't it get fulfilled amazingly in the incarnation account of Jesus being born among us?
Imagine being one of the disciples. What would you have spoken to Jesus about on those long dusty walks to and from Galilee? Would you have quizzed him on the hard bits of the Old Testament and got a mind blowing lesson? Would you have shared some deep hurt and had the insights of the creator of the universe?
One of the Apostle Paul's favourite verbs for living the Christian life is walking. He often speaks about this metaphor of walking to describe the life and conduct of a Christian. Often though we miss it, because it gets translated simply as 'live.'
For example: 'But you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live (literaly: walk)as children of light.' (Ephesians 5:8)
We see this idea pop up in Ephesians particularly, but also Galatians 5:16, Romans 6:4, 8:4 and Philippians 3:17, to name a few.
The bottom line is here. I wonder if the reason walking is such a big theme in the Bible, is because [[it depicts ideal side by side fellowship and friendship]]. It is an activity where we travel as companions and enjoy the Lord's creation. This is what we were made for...with the Lord God himself. And if Adam and Eve had not sinned, we too would have been walking with Christ in Eden. I say Christ there, because I have laid my cards on the table. I believe that it was the second person of the Trinity who walked in the garden of Eden, but I have written on that a bit more, here: http://stjohnshensingham.org.uk/blog/2016/trinity-in-genesis.html
So, this advent, I don't actually mind if you resolve to do lots of walking in the new year, although I think it could be advised! But I do want to encourage you to walk with the Lord. Spend time with him in his word and then ask the Spirit to help you live it. You are made for walking with him and that can begin today.