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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Hiking Shoes Not Optional

The journey that took the Israelites out of slavery began with a meal they ate with staff in hand and dressed for a journey. It was sustenance before a sojourn.

A lot of important occasions start with a meal—an award ceremony, a family reunion, a retreat, or conference. When people gather around a meal, they get acquainted better and they are ready for whatever it was they gathered to accomplish.

When church reopened for us, we shared communion at the end. I was looking forward to this remembrance meal as I always did. But it was different. With hand sanitizer and tongs for the bread, we were carefully directed with COVID rules at every step. I was so focused on what to do, I practically forgot why.

Today, as I reviewed the first Passover, I remembered it wasn’t much different. The meal came with specific instructions, some which probably didn’t make sense. And they were supposed to eat it quickly, ready to leave their Egyptian homes at a moment’s notice.

Maybe I should start wearing hiking shoes when I join the procession to receive communion, our Passover meal. Maybe this isn’t the time for quiet reflection. Maybe the strategy for these days is to treat this meal the same way the Children of Israel were instructed: take, eat, and travel. Feed the soul and get on with the journey.

As I read the details again surrounding that first Passover, I felt the heaviness of their situation. They were caught in a struggle they couldn’t solve just by making more bricks, doing life like they always had. They were being called out of their normal. It was a test, but it didn’t really start with a meal. It started with obedience.

That’s the operative action before God can bring His good things to His people. We must obey His instructions. Not selectively. Not to get out of them what we want. We obey the details even when they don’t make sense. Smear blood on your doorposts. Eat your meal ready to make a quick exit.

I’ll admit it. I’m struggling with all the not-normal practices that I thought we would be finished with by now. But what is normal except what feels right to me? Normal to God includes whatever He says will take us to the next step.

And the next step is what I want more than normal.

That’s where the hiking shoes come in. Whether I put them on literally or figuratively, I need to remember, it’s about the journey ahead and I need to be ready for it.

Take. Eat. This is bread of life, cup of salvation.

This meal is not about carbs or calories; it’s about obedience for a journey. Just like the Israelites, I’m not sure where it’s going to take me, but God calls it Promised Land. And I have it on good authority that He’s the only One with the map.

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