When I’m stuck in a tangle of worry or overwhelm, I take a walk. Since I live by the beach, I’ve mentioned the sandy shore is my go-to place, but sometimes I just walk down the street to the corner grocery store where I’m captivated by the bright colored spring flowers shining their faces toward the beaming sun, settled like little children sitting with smiles in neighborhood gardens. These are often the moments when hope peaks out of pockets of fretting, when solace springs from my cluttered mind, or a scripture arises, bringing me home to the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
“Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” Genesis 13:17
Ludwig Van Beethoven would often takes long walks, carrying pen and paper in the event of inspiration.
Charles Dickens once said, “If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish”.
Henry David Thoreau shared, “an early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”.
Poet William Wordsworth saw walking and writing poetry as ‘indivisible’.
Wallace Stevens words speak to me, “Perhaps the only truth depends on a walk around the lake”.
On a quest to share his love of God, beloved Saint Francis spoke of walking as a kind of sermon, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”
We can’t be exact on how many miles Jesus walked sharing the good news of God with the people. Some biblical researchers say he might have walked over 3,000 miles just in his 3 year ministry.
Today thousands walk the Camino Trail in search of deeper connection with God (a colleague was a producer on a film about the trail). Others flock to the Jesus Trail, a forty mile pilgrimage founded by two hikers based on places Jesus walked in the beginning of his ministry illustrated in the Gospel of Matthew 4. Note, Jesus’ ministry started after he is tempted by the devil, where he begins to meet and gather the disciples.
I invite you to read the verse below from The Message, imagining the magnitude of Jesus’ walk, how this walk from town to town changed the world.
Then, I’d say, carve out a time to take a walk, and make it a prayer or begin a walking ministry.
12-17 When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulun and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah’s sermon:
Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
road to the sea, over Jordan,
Galilee, crossroads for the nations.
People sitting out their lives in the dark
saw a huge light;
Sitting in that dark, dark country of death,
they watched the sun come up.
This Isaiah-prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
18-20 Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.
21-22 A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.
23-25 From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God’s kingdom was his theme—that beginning right now they were under God’s government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan.
My morning walk this morning filled me with the sweet scents of grace. As I headed home to face my work load, a warm caressing breeze reminded me of God’s comfort, helping release thick-skinned tension from weeks of preparing taxes, of the daily stresses that smothered joy. My morning walk was more than just a walk. It was a meeting with God, a lovely, blessed, walking prayer, a reflection on the walking ministry of Jesus.