From the minister’s map and to z

How good are you with directions, according to some motoring surveys most people’s arguments on the road are about map reading. Satellite navigation devices have for some made a row even more likely than with the old methods of being lost and confused. What joy to be told by your passengers and a computer that the garden
centre is in the opposite direction? Looking at the map has become quite a habit in our Circuit, I did know where some of the churches were before we joined up but I think everyone has had fun going to visit them. Postcodes on the plan will certainly help. That said, I won’t be having a satnav any time soon. I don’t believe in guidance
from above in quite the same way as Google and other technology providers are dispensing.

However, on a trip to a Synod in Kingsbridge a few years ago, a minster friend of mine insisted I took his satnav along for our journey. I was driving and when we left the A38 the satnav’s idea of where Kingsbridge lay and mine differed sharply. I didn’t know the exact route but I knew the general direction of the town so I didn’t listen to my micro chipped passenger and headed in the other direction from ‘her’ idea of getting there (it just happened to be a lady satnav, O.K). Having done my own thing there, then followed a number of ‘invitations’ to drive down a number of cart tracks. These would certainly have taken the floor out of a Bedford Truck never mind my car.
I pressed on with a proper road under the wheels and hey presto there was Kingsbridge. I think my friend was a little miffed that I had not followed the ‘yellow brick road’ of his digital pal. I confess it was quite hard having my friend and his satnav telling me to go the other way but I stuck with what I believed and reached
the destination.

It brings me to the wider matter of whose directions we actually follow throughout our life. Which voice guides us in daily living. I was quite shocked a few years back when some Christian friends told me a story of something of theirs that had fallen to bits. They had claimed on the insurance, I might not have thought too much about it if they had not given me the yarn that convinced the insurance company to pay up. Their tale to me closed with the sentence, “Everyone’s doing it, everybody claims if they can get away with it”. Well having just seen my latest quotes I am inclined to think most people are getting away with it’. The industry is struggling with claims
fuelled by their own assistance at the moment as details are hand round the ‘no win, no fee’ brigade. It seems we are all paying for such a culture. So how do we navigate through life and not just follow the herd over the nearest into the river

I could not help think of Joshua as he calls on the people to remember the Covenant. In Chapter 24 he recounts their journey from Egypt to across the Jordon. He doesn’t dwell on all the times they got lost (spiritually) or listened to everyone’s bad ideas instead of God’s call. Joshua points out how God has led them to their destination. He then gives them a challenge as to the direction for their faith, will they serve Yahweh
or will they serve the powerless gods picked up on the wilderness journey. It is a time of decision. He tells them “ But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” I hope this is something we echo, whether its map reading or insurance claims and all the other challenges of life. We need to know God’s still small voice for all we do
rather than be persuaded by those who don’t know where they are going.
Best wishes and a Happy New Year