Wednesday, September 17, 2008
When traveling in the wilderness it is important to stay together with your expedition team or hiking group. You are never supposed to go off alone in the wilderness. If someone is lost, or disoriented, their new job is to stay found. See, we need one another. When we are journeying together in a group, our loads are lighter. There is also safety in numbers. When backpacking, you share group gear: stoves, fuel, food, shelter, water treatment, trowels, aka bathroom, and other important gear like repair kits and first aid kits. If someone gets lost not only does this person put himself or herself at risk, but they also put the group at risk. We need one another and we need to stay together to survive.
Backpacking in the wilderness with a group of friends is like being a part of a well-oiled machine; every part serves its purpose to function and hum along toward its goal. There is a security in being in a group that does not exist when you are alone. An expedition group comes to know one another intimately and relies on one another to live from day to day. Everyone is indispensible. A community is formed when in the backcountry. Unspoken rules of conduct develop, and these rules are added to the list of technical skills and requirements that are already in place for the group to function safely. Everyone stays in step with these unspoken and spoken covenants to live and hike together safely and effectively.
The Christian life is no different. Paul says this about discipleship, or following and learning from Christ in Colossians 3:15-17:
“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ”
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Col 3:15-17
There was an unfortunate story that happened in Northern Virginia in 2008 about a young man who went off by himself to do some rock climbing and fell. No one knew where he was. Rumor has it that he was attempting a climb that he loved dearly and was breaking in some new climbing shoes. Unfortunately, this young man did not have a helmet on and was not on belay. He fell from his climb and injured himself badly. A best friend and another man who cared deeply for him found him dead on the trail the next day. He had placed himself there, probably because he knew that he would be found there.
I know that this young man was a Christ follower. His life spoke richly of the Gospel and so did his death. From His home in heaven, where rock climbing is beyond glorious, he would most likely speak these words of Paul to us from Colossians that illustrate his last lesson for those of us here that still miss him greatly, “None of this going off and doing your own thing.” This young man’s death is not in vain. It teaches a lesson for those of us on this side of heaven, that we need one another. We need one another to walk with Christ and to walk along side of each other through this life. We cannot go at it alone. We must stay together.
Staying together, not going at it alone,