Posted: 28 Feb 2012 06:32 AM PST
My mom, Olive Jean, was a great one for collecting sayings. She wrote her little pearls of wisdom on scraps of paper everywhere.
I grew up as a baby boomer in a neighborhood where World War II soldiers returned and settled down to raise their families. It wasn't exactly a diverse neighborhood by today's standards. Even as a little girl, I wanted to know about differences. I knew which houses received deliveries from the Bond Bread truck and which received Wonder Bread. In one of my rides with the milkman, I learned who got pasteurized milk deliveries and who got homogenized. However, a more important question for my little mind was: Why are some people Protestants and some Catholics?
Of course, Olive had an answer. She said, "Oh, honey, everyone is going to God, we're just on different buses." I am sure that my mom, being a Catholic, had never read about "the promise coming by faith and grace, guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring" in Romans 4. After all, we were on the Catholic bus and didn't own a Bible!
I thought my mom meant that religious traditions were just like very big buses carrying lots of passengers. There was a big Protestant bus and a big Catholic bus and a smaller Jewish bus in our '50s neighborhood.
I love my mom's metaphor. Looking at it through Romans 4:13-15, I see that some bus passengers may need routines and feel very comfortable in an assembly line. Some may even be afraid to get off the bus. They may be guilt-ridden and confused, or maybe sound asleep and too lazy to care. Many people reject boarding these buses altogether.
Abraham was never on a bus. He didn't have a planned route. His journey is "the promise that comes by faith."
I like to think that rather than buses carrying us en mass, we all have individual vehicles. We are moving temples of the Holy Spirit and, much like our father, Abraham, we are certain only of our current location. We are waiting for the big Port Authority, Father God, to "call us into being" and give us the next steps on our Google faith map!
Lent is a perfect time to take these forty days to "refuel," to let God direct our journey, and to take time to notice our fellow journeyers who, in Olive's words, "are going to the same God," but in different vehicles.
Through the faith of our father Abraham, may we trust the journey and be a blessing to each other on our way to Easter morning!
Jeanne Louise Barnett, member of Marble Collegiate